FULTON - Callaway Community Hospital celebrated the opening of a new wing with an open house Wednesday. The geriatric psychiatry wing, called Kingdom Senior Solutions, is designed for elderly patients whose mental health has suffered as a result of their deteriorating physical health. The hospital's CEO, Allen Aufderheide, said it is the only inpatient program of its kind in the region. "There's really been not much for senior adults. Senior adults have very specific requirements for their treatment," according to clinical nurse manager Roxanne O'Loughlin.
O'Loughlin said elderly patients often need special psychiatric care as their health declines. "People feel helpless and they feel more limited and that can lead to depression and it can lead to more severe symptoms of psychiatric disorders that they already had," said O'Loughlin.
The 19 bed wing was previously used for surgical recovery. Aufderheide said the concept behind Kingdom Senior Solutions was developed two years ago. He was impressed when the renovations only took about two months to complete.
The wing features specific safety devices required for mental health facilities. These precautions include doors within doors, which ensure hospital staff entry to patient rooms. The hospital also installed automatic sinks without sharp corners, specially designed electrical outlets, and a fenced-in fire evacuation area outside. In addition, private showers were removed from patient rooms and electrical cords longer than 6 inches are banned. Patients will need to ask a nurse to adjust their electronic beds for them.
The project was paid in part by the United States Department of Agriculture. Kingdom Senior Solutions will begin accepting patients Friday, but this is not the last expansion slated for Callaway Community Hospital. Aufderheide said he's looking to expand the emergency room.