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May 3, 2018
A 12-bed mental health geriatric behavioural care unit (GBU) opened at Victoria Hospital on April 5, 2017. The secure unit is specifically geared for elderly patients with responsive behaviours such as wandering or exit seeking and aggression toward others.
Typically the Mental Health team has cared for these patients in the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to keep the patients safe. The PICU is not the optimal location for the type of care and environment that the geriatric mental health patient may require, and often prolongs the length of stay.
Caring for the elderly patient with responsive behaviours may ease the pressure in the PICU by lowering the overall length of stay and opening up beds for patients in need of psychiatric intensive care.
"We recognize that we need to provide the right care to the right patient at the right time in the right place, and with the new geriatric behavioural unit we can better serve this patient population," says Julie Trpkovski, Vice President of Mental Health, Emergency Service, and Access and Flow.
The GBU provides a different model of care, with staff specializing in supporting these patients. The interdisciplinary team includes physicians, nursing, orderlies, Nurse Practitioner as well as a recreation therapist and a social worker who both specialize in optimizing transitions from hospital to long term care homes in the community.
"This is the right thing for to do for these patients. Creating an environment that allows the patient to stabilize their behaviors and that promotes socialization to provide for a more consistent approach to help channel some of the responsive behaviours and make patients more stable to transfer to either home or long term care homes in the community," says Sherri Lawson, Director of Inpatient Mental Health. "Let's offer the best for the patients, make them safe and get them ready to go back into the community."