Asante unveils new Behavioral Health Unit
Asante’s vision to significantly improve the patient experience for people facing a mental health crisis has become a reality with the opening of the new Behavioral Health Unit at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. The Asante Behavioral Health Unit is the only inpatient facility of its kind serving a nine-county region in Southern Oregon and Northern California.
“Improving how our patients receive care in our community has been a priority for us,” said Mick Zdeblick, senior vice president and CEO at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. “Completion of this project is the culmination of a master plan Asante has undertaken over the past five years to expand behavioral health services and transition how we care for our mental health patients.”
First, Asante adopted a trauma-informed approach to mental health care called The Sanctuary Model. “Behavioral issues in adults are often traced to childhood trauma, such as physical or mental abuse,” said Laurel Madrone, manager of the Behavioral Health Unit. “We focus on the root causes of the person’s issues — what’s happened to them — rather than asking what’s wrong with them.”
At the same time, a resiliency support program called Team CARE Response was created for employees. “A group of people who deal with highly traumatized patients can become traumatized,” Madrone said. “When you work with people who are injured, critically ill or in despair it starts to affect our staff members. The Team CARE program helps address their needs.”
Outpatient behavioral health services has also been expanded. Specialists have been hired in Asante Physician Partners’ primary care clinics for on-the-spot interventions for people who need focused, short-term behavioral health care. For local youth, Asante will be launching an outpatient education program called ASPIRE (After-School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education) to help middle and high school students cope with issues such as anxiety and depression.
The last step was relocating the Behavioral Health Unit to another area within the hospital, so it could be expanded to accommodate more inpatients. The original unit was built in 1972 as an institutional facility that promoted seclusion and security for mentally ill patients. The new and expanded unit offers 24 rooms, each with a garden view. “The day we moved our patients into the new space was profound,” Madrone said. “All the patients expressed gratitude and relief. They love looking at the views and being surrounded by Southern Oregon photography inside the unit.”
There are four common areas for socializing, a large outdoor area with beautiful plantings, grass, picnic tables and benches for patients to enjoy. “What we offer now is an environment designed specifically for healing the mind, body and spirit,” Madrone added.
Prior to construction of the new Behavioral Health Unit, renovations were made to the Psychiatric Care Unit housed in the emergency department at Asante Rogue Regional. “We remodeled the space to accommodate more patients, including pediatric patients, and to make the space safer and more calming for patients in distress,” Zdeblick said.
The cost to build the new unit was $6.8 million, with a large portion of the funds coming from community members who share a vision for improving mental health services. “It’s profound to witness one of the most transformational mental health projects in our region come to life, and it’s because of philanthropy that this is possible,” said Andrea Reeder, Asante Foundation campaign director. “The new Behavioral Health Unit is a key component of this initiative and is making a profound impact on patients while addressing a critical need in Southern Oregon.”
Though construction on the Behavioral Health Unit is done, the opportunity to improve mental health care services in our community continues. To learn more and get involved, visit AsanteFoundation.org.