Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, March 2, 2001

Nightingale Center offers care for older adults with behavior changes

By Patrice Salmon

During its first year of operation, Ridgeview's Nightingale Center for older patients struggling with behavoir changes, received an award for excellence.

The 10-bed inpatient unit located in Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, has been open since December 1999.

Nightingale Center received a Star of Excellence Award for outstanding performance. The award came from Sunstone Behavior Health, the national organization that partnered with Ridgeview to develop the center.

The award is given to Sunstone units that exceed performance standards in patient/family satisfaction, patient outcomes, budget, and other operational measures.

Nightingale was the first of 60 eligible units to receive the Star of Excellence Award during its first year of operation.

"This award is a credit to the outstanding Nightingale staff and the commitment our team has made to patient satisfaction," said Jill Smith, unit administrator, Nightingale Center.

"We receive wonderful support from Ridgeview Medical Center physicians, nurses, and staff, and look forward to strengthening the services we offer to area residents and their families," Smith continued.

Nightingale Center offers psychiatric hospitalization services for adults over age 55 who are suffering from acute symptoms related to mental health issues.

The average length of stay is 10 to 14 days, based on the reduction rate of the acute symptoms which led to hospitalization.

According to Smith, patients who may benefit from this program include those struggling with:

· extended feelings of depression or anxiety

· bipolar disorder

· suicidal or homicidal ideation

· excessive feelings of aggression or anger

· a sudden onset of forgetfulness and/or the ability to concentrate

· decrease in one's ability to care for oneself

· alcohol abuse or excessive use of nerve medication

· seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear

· dementia with behavior which might endanger the safety of oneself or others.

A multi-disciplinary team approach, consisting of medical doctors, a psychiatric nurse, a social worker, and a recreation therapist is used.

Patient programs are based on individual needs may include the following treatments: group therapy, activities, medication, and individual treatment.

Plans are also made for follow-up care and discharge planning. Unit staff will provide ongoing follow-up care up to one year following discharge.

Anyone can make a referral to the behavioral health program. Information will be gathered and anassessment of symptoms will be reviewed with the psychiatrist and treatment team.

Some of the information needed to make a referral includes:

· Name, address, and phone number, who the patient is, and the relationship to that person

· Who will accompany the patient to the unit, the date and expected time of arrival

· The patient's billing information, social security number, phone number, address, and birth date

· A brief description of the patient's symptoms and behaviors

· Patient's medical status, present medications, work or family problems

· A release of information or documentation relevant to the patient's treatment is necessary prior to admission

· Once the information is reviewed and verified by the unit administrator, notification of confirmation will be promptly given.

All information is kept strictly confidential.

Admission services are available 24 hours a day.

For more information, or to make a referral, call the Ridgeview Behavioral Health Unit at (952) 442-8097.

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