Jefferson Hospital now offers psychological treatment

Since opening its new Behavioral Health Center in late August, Jefferson Hospital has been working to hire the nurses, therapists, and technicians to fill the department. On Monday, November 15, the center officially took referrals and saw its first patients.

Wendy Martin, the hospital’s CEO, said the behavioral inpatient health program, which is located in a newly renovated wing of the main building, aims to fill a regional void by specifically targeting the underserved adult population.

“The Jefferson Hospital Center for Behavioral Health program provides personalized care in a warm, supportive, and safe environment to help our patients with behavioral issues related to the normal aging process,” said Martin.

Jefferson Hospital is partnering with UltraGroup Healthcare to provide these services in its 11,000 square foot, 10 bed facility. The average length of stay of a person admitted to the facility for short-term stabilization is expected to be between 11 and 14 days. The total renovation of the unit represents a $ 2.8 million investment.

Martin said there is a significant shortage of beds across the state for patients in need of behavioral health services. This center has been under development for years and the hospital applied for its first needs certificate in 2015. The unit is unique in the area and is designed to serve patients in Jefferson and the surrounding counties.

“We had a group yesterday that could possibly be organizations that would send us patients, nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” said Martin. “We brought her to see the unit so we were able to answer any questions about the referral process.”

The unit is prepared to care for any patient with a behavioral diagnosis, including those with dementia and other disorders.

Adrian Bellinger, the unit’s social worker / clinical therapist, said the pandemic had increased the need for mental health services among the elderly.

“When COVID hit many elderly patients who were in assisted living and nursing homes, visitors could no longer be received and their mental health was impaired,” said Bellinger. “Some felt that ‘nobody loves me’, ‘where is my family’.”

The department at Jefferson Hospital will be able to help patients with depression and anxiety.

“We’re going to be substance abuse too, but we’re not necessarily going to detox, but we’re going to take these patients as soon as they’re detoxified,” Bellinger said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of medication management dealing with psychotropic drugs for these different diagnoses like schizophrenia, bipolar maybe borderline personality targeting a population group, say 55 and up.”

Other facilities, even in Augusta, would have to move these patients to Atlanta, she said. Jefferson Hospital offers people throughout the Central Savannah River Area a service that is much closer to home.

For more information about the Jefferson Hospital Center for Behavioral Health, visit their website at JeffersonHosp.com.

Jefferson Hospital, Louisville GA


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