FMCH cuts ribbon on Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit

The Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce's Ambassador Club helped celebrate FMCH's new Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit Friday morning. Courtesy photo

FORT MADISON – On July 1st, 2021 Fort Madison Community Hospital will open a Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit. This inpatient acute care area will be dedicated to serving adults age 65 and older who are in need of direct professional supervision due to experiencing new or worsening behavioral and emotional health challenges.

The Fort Madison-based Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit will be the first specialized in-patient psychiatry unit focusing on the needs of older adults in Southeast Iowa.  It was inspired by the Community Health Needs Assessment and Health Improvement Plan for 2020-2023, conducted in partnership with the Lee County Health Department. Two main goals determined through the assessment were to improve the population’s mental health and well-being and to improve the health, function, and quality of life for older adults. 

“This line of service is going to allow us to help you and your loved one’s navigate the challenges that come with aging and mental illness. The vision of the Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit is to provide individualized, compassionate, patient-centered care to promote the mental health and well-being of seniors in the community. Because after all, the people in our community and the families we serve are the heart of what we do.” – Shelby Dickens, CEO of FMCH.

The 12-bed inpatient unit is equipped with private rooms, a day room, activities room, a designated dining area and is designed with patient safety, comfort, and privacy in mind. The unit is staffed by a team of extensively trained mental health professionals including providers, a social worker, nurses, an activities therapist, and various other disciplines.

The team’s main goal is to work together to provide each patient with a coordinated individualized treatment program that is tailored to meet their needs. The treatment will help individuals renew social, physical, and mental skills.  Treatment plans will be updated as necessary and will include counseling, group therapy, and coordinated activities.

The Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit was set to open at Fort Madison Community Hospital in July of 2020 but was delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Adults age 65 and older that are experiencing new or deteriorating cognitive, behavioral, emotional, or physical symptoms may benefit from the Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit.  Anyone can make a request for a referral, if you have questions or concerns, please reach out to us at 319-376-2428.

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