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The Challenge of Aging

Story by Liesel Schmidt

Mental health is a common issue that affects many people, regardless of age, race, gender, or social background; but we often forget that those issues make the challenges of aging even more difficult. The fact remains that declining physical health is a natural part of getting older—and when coupled with mental disorders, those health conditions are of even greater concern. Treating senior patients takes a special expertise, both in understanding their particular physical needs as well as their psychological and emotional needs; so Jennie Stuart Health offers a dedicated Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit where the minimum age requirement of patients is 65.

Having opened at the end of 2018, the GBHU is a twelve-bed, state-of-the-art inpatient psychiatric unit offering an acute-stay program with an average length of stay ranging anywhere from seven to 14 days, depending on the particular individual and their needs. Supported by the services of a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, and other team members led by Dr. Michael McGhee and Dr. Deepak Patel, the unit devotes itself to the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in senior adults including dementia, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and late-life schizophrenia. Co-existing medical illnesses, medications, family issues, social concerns, and environmental issues are integrated into a comprehensive program of care, effectively creating a holistic plan that treats the entire scope of each patient’s particular needs.

“With an aging population, geriatric behavioral health is a service that is vital to our community, and we’re very proud to provide a higher level of care through this service offering,” says Director of Psychiatric Services GBHU Lisa Grise, RN. “The needs of the senior adult are unique—not only physically but also emotionally. When one person in the family suffers from an emotional illness, everyone in the family can be affected. We understand that the admission to a psychiatric center can be challenging and encourage family members to express their feelings and learn ways to cope; and to further the success of treatment, our family sessions help establish healthy communication channels and discharge plans. In working together, we can help restore order and healthy living to the patient's life.” From mind to body, Jennie Stuart Health’s team is committed to providing hope in the midst of the challenges of aging and mental health.

Jennie Stuart Health Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit

320 West 18th Street, Hopkinsville, Kentucky 42240 • (270) 887-0430

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