Geriatric Behavioral Health Long-Term Care Program
Aging can bring complex challenges—physical, emotional, and cognitive. As the percentage of elderly Americans steadily increases, the number requiring health care continues to grow.
Mental health problems faced by older people can be very difficult for caregivers to address. Most vital for ensuring the best quality of life for residents of care facilities is the provision of comprehensive, coordinated care that includes specialists in geriatric psychiatry.
Specialized Geriatric Behavioral Health Care
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 with primary care physicians and facility staff to provide treatment suited to each resident’s unique mental health needs. The team 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 to ensure compliance with the Medicare requirement that psychiatric services be provided to residents of Medicare-certified nursing facilities.
Some assisted living facilities contract with us as a convenience for their residents, so that they do not need to leave home 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 worsening 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. If the patient returns home, 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, who may have coexisting mental illnesses.
In addition, the team treats patients suffering from depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders.
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.
Our Geriatric Behavioral Health Care Team
The multidisciplinary team of the Long-Term Care Program 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 team members are specialists in geriatrics and psychiatry, providing a much-needed service for aging adults in our region.