Behavioral Health Unit to open July 19

  • President and CEO of Passavant Area Hospital, Doug Rahn, presents information on the new unit
  • Brenda Weaver, Behavioral Health Unit (left) and Sheila Thomas, MD, The Center for Psychiatric Health (right) enjoy the event
  • Kamna Handa, MD, The Center for Psychiatric Health (foreground) is seen talking with guests on the tour of the BHU. Pravesh Basnet, MD, Medical Director of the Behavioral Health Unit, is pictured in the background
  • An example of a patient room is seen here. Each room has a colored accent wall
  • Barb Smith, RN, Behavioral Health Unit Nurse Manager (center left) and Pam Bickhaus, Office Manager for The Center for Psychiatric Health (center right), talk with others about the unit

By Kyla Hurt

Photos/Kyla Hurt

A psychiatric need will be filled in Jacksonville. Passavant Area Hospital has recently completed their new Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) and its doors officially open on Tuesday, July 19. However, many visitors listened to information given about the unit, followed by tours of the unit on the evening of Tuesday, July 12.

Doug Rahn, president and chief executive officer of Passavant Area Hospital, spoke about the importance of this unit, explaining that it will fill a void locally and that is will also create the ability to “link these services with other services in the community.” We can “integrate our psychiatric services effectively with this additional component.” Rahn also spoke of registered nurse Barb Smith, who will fill the role of nurse manager of the BHU, saying “It has just been a Godsend to have Barb on our team.”

President of the Passavant Area Hospital Foundation, Mary Fergurson, spoke of the giving of the Howard and Vera Million, saying that “it is a wonderful thing to stand up here and offer thanks” to the ideas held in the minds of Howard and Vera Million. Fergurson gauged this addition as an “appropriate outgrowth of their benefaction,” further commenting that it has enabled continued improvement of the hospital and ending by saying, “What a wonderful story Passavant has been telling for over 100 years. “

The tours of the BHU located on the third floor of the hospital gave a picture of the state-of-the-art equipment and latest safety measures that were used and taken into account for the creation of the unit. Registered nurse Michelle Amdal guided one tour, explaining and showing many of the details of the unit. The BHU will be locked at all times, using a camera and nurses to monitor allowing entrance or exit, for that matter. There is a conference room for doctor-to-patient meetings or nurses running through notes at shift-change, for example, Amdal told. There are 10 rooms in the unit (each with own personal bathroom containing a toilet and sink), one of which is a bariatric room with appropriate modifications. In fact, Amdal described how the entire unit has adjustments meant to maintain the safety and best interest of patients. The fixtures in the bathroom are specific for safety, including a door with a padded top of the frame that will alarm if one were to tie something over the door, safety glass and sinks altered for safety. The whole unit, in fact, seemed very open and visible to the nurses at all times, including cameras in each patient room and low walls or dividers in the common areas to increase visibility.

In all, the project seems “smart,” from the details of the unit to the idea of its necessity. Pravesh Basnet, MD, is the medical director of the BHU. Psychiatric illness is a serious illness; this “10-bed inpatient unit will provide treatment for adult patients with acute behavioral health symptoms requiring hospitalization and stabilization,” per Passavant.

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