Behavioral Health Professionals in Emergency Department 24-7
|Mindy Schultz (rear), LISW-S, Manager of Behavioral Health Emergency and Admissions, and Louisa Wray, LPC, Admissions Clinician, discuss options for patient with behavioral health needs, in the Upper Valley Medical Center Emergency Department.
Behavioral health professionals stationed 24-7 in the Upper Valley Medical Center Emergency Department are working to ensure those with mental health needs are handled appropriately and efficiently.
The transition of behavioral health assessments at UVMC from the former Crisis Center on campus to the Emergency Department (ED) began this summer and has gone smoothly, said Mindy Schultz, LISW-S, Manager of Behavioral Health Emergency and Admissions.
The change was sparked by the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services’ decision to redirect dollars previously used to contract with UVMC for Crisis Center and 24-Hour Hotline services. Those services now are handled by the Miami County Recovery Council using a 24-hour Crisis Hotline and a mobile crisis team to respond to mental health calls from local law enforcement facilities, jails and Emergency Departments.
UVMC continues to provide behavioral heath inpatient services and admissions by a team of behavioral health therapists and technicians. The team members who now are based in the ED serve as a “gatekeeper” for those who come to the ED in need of behavioral health related services.
The Behavioral Health Emergency and Admissions team also screens patients on the inpatient units and works to admit anyone needing inpatient behavioral health services to the Behavioral Health Center. The Tri-County mobile team can be called to support the Behavioral Team in the ED, if needed.
“It makes sense that we would be in the emergency room,” Schultz said of the behavioral health team. The community was fortunate to have a separate location to serve behavioral health crisis for years, but changes in providing emergency health care for the community are forming more of an integrated system to serve those patients, she said.
The ED staff is no stranger to behavioral health patients who they treated for any medical issues when patients came to the ED by squad or private vehicle and then were transported to the inpatient behavioral health unit, if needed. As part of the transition, two “safe rooms” equipped according to state requirements were added in the ED for those who arrive with an initial complaint of a behavioral health nature.
“We have a team approach from the nursing staff and the physicians where we all communicate effectively for the best care for the patient,” Schultz said. “This way the patient is getting good, quality care by having all services efficiently in the same setting.”
The behavioral health team members also will support ED staff needs, if there are no patients with mental health issues to be addressed. Team members can assist by supporting family members if a traumatic situation is occurring or help with supporting patients and family members to enhance the patient experience, especially during busy times.
For more information on the program, contact Schultz at (937) 440-7631.