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Parkview services moving

Randallia site to house geriatric psychiatric patients

Parkview Behavioral Health is designating the third floor of Parkview Hospital Randallia as a treatment center for geriatric psychiatric patients, officials said Thursday.

The move is one of the last elements of the Fort Wayne-based health care provider’s $550 million investment that included construction of Parkview Regional Medical Center and transfer of many services from the Randallia campus off East State Boulevard to the new hospital just north of Dupont Road.

Parkview Health spent more than $1 million to remodel and furnish the space now called Parkview BridgeWays, spokesman Eric Clabaugh said. The space, which previously housed surgery patients, consists of 20 private rooms. BridgeWays opens Tuesday.

Geriatric patients represent about 20 percent of the psychiatric patients Parkview Behavioral Health treats each year. Children, adolescent and adult psychiatric patients will continue to be admitted to the current facility at 1720 Beacon St.

Parkview Behavioral Health employs about 150 and treats more than 4,600 inpatient psychiatric patients each year. Patients in the geriatric area are 55 or older.

BridgeWays includes a sensory room for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The room includes various elements that might trigger patients’ memories, including bubbles flowing through plastic columns, aromatherapy, music and special lighting. The atmosphere is also designed to calm patients.

The overall goal is to improve patients’ quality of life and help them be as independent as possible, said Charles Clark, senior vice president of operations for Parkview Behavioral Health. Some come to the facility from nursing homes and others from their own homes or relatives’ homes.

By moving the secure geriatric psychiatric ward into a hospital building, the staff will be able to treat patients who need more intensive care, including IV drug therapy for low potassium levels and frequent blood testing to monitor the effects of blood thinners, said Sally Boyce, nursing director for Parkview Behavioral Health.

The Beacon Street facility, which is licensed for 107 beds, is now divided into separate units for geriatric patients, children, adolescents and adults. Adults are housed in two units. The center also includes an eight-bed intensive care unit.

Officials are exploring options for the soon-to-be-vacated geriatric unit, Clark said. It could become an intake evaluation area for geriatric patients, he said.

Adding 20 beds will help the health care provider meet local patients’ needs. Parkview Behavioral Health sometimes has had to turn away psychiatric patients with serious medical needs when its Beacon Street intensive care unit is full.

St. Joseph Hospital, operated by rival Lutheran Health Network, also offers geriatric psychiatric services. St. Joseph Behavioral Health operates a 30-bed inpatient unit within the downtown hospital.

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