- About Lifespan's Geriatric Psychiatry Program
- Geriatric Services
- Education and Research
- Our Faculty
- The Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center
- The Family Research Program
Geriatric Behavioral Health Long-Term Care Program
Christina Sokoloff, RN, MSN, PCNS
Nurse Clinical Specialists:
The program is located at The Miriam Hospital in the Fain Building
Aging can bring complex challenges—physical, emotional and cognitive. As the average lifespan steadily increases in the United States, the number of elderly requiring health care continues to grow. Mental health problems faced by older people can be very difficult for caregivers to address. The most important factor for ensuring the best day-to-day quality of life for the elderly in residential care facilities is the provision of comprehensive, coordinated care that includes specialists in geriatric psychiatry.
The Miriam Hospital’s Geriatric Behavioral Health Long-Term Care Program was established to assure that older residents of nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and assisted-living facilities in Rhode Island receive specialized geriatric psychiatric services. With a strong background in geriatric psychiatry and nursing, our consultation team works together with residents’ primary care physicians and facility staff to provide treatment for each resident’s unique mental health needs and offers support and education for facility staff, as well as help for family members and loved ones.
Our services are provided to facilities that contract with our program, which allows convenient compliance with the Medicare requirement that psychiatric services be provided to residents of Medicare-certified nursing facilities. In some cases, assisted living facilities contract with us as a convenience for their residents, so that they do not need to leave the facility to access services. Patients who require short-term stays in nursing facilities for rehabilitation may also benefit from our services, as they may have difficulty adjusting to their condition, or may experience anxiety or depression or an exacerbation of an ongoing mental health condition.
Our team can provide a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and psychotropic medication management, as well as short-term psychotherapy to help patients progress in their rehabilitation and return home. After leaving the facility, our team can assist with continuity of care through referrals to our geriatric psychiatric or adult psychiatric outpatient programs or to other community providers.
The Geriatric Behavioral Health Long-Term Care Program offers services that include:
- Diagnostic assessment of disorders of mood, thought or behavior
- Psychopharmacology management
- Family consultation and intervention
- Emergency assessment and treatment
- Psychotherapy and grief counseling
- Nursing consultation
- Educational programs
- Decision-making assessments
- Non-pharmacologic behavior management consultation
Many of the patients seen through the program are treated for behavioral issues related to dementia. The consultation team offers the specialized understanding, medication and care required by each specific type of dementia, and assists staff in recognizing the particular needs of their patients. Our team has expertise in Federal guidelines such as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 regulations and F-Tags (federal tags), which set federal standards for care and regulate the safety of psychiatric medications in the long-term care setting. In addition, the team treats patients suffering from other mental illnesses, such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders. In some cases, patients suffer from these conditions in addition to dementia.
With a unique perspective on the medical and behavioral problems facing this population, the consultation team also lends its expertise to other nurses. Recognizing a need for more clinical education in geriatrics and mental health, the program regularly sponsors education programs for nurses in the region.
The Geriatric Behavioral Health Long-Term Care Program comprises a multidisciplinary team that includes board-certified geriatric psychiatrists and ANCC-certified clinical nurse specialists in adult psychiatric mental health and gerontological nursing. Our program is unique in that our staff are specialists in geriatrics and psychiatry, providing a much needed service for the elderly in our region.