Did you know depression is four times more common among the elderly? Loss of a spouse or changes in mental and physical abilities can be difficult to overcome later in life, but now there’s more help for seniors in Barry and Lawrence counties.
Mercy Hospital Cassville has expanded and opened a new hospital-based, intensive outpatient psychiatry program called Senior Life Solutions. The program focuses on older adults who suffer from depression, anxiety, mood disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, sleep disturbances and other behavioral health conditions.
“Our number one goal is to keep patients out of psychiatric units and keep their health from deteriorating,” said Lynsey Perry, director of the program. “We’re attacking problems from a very holistic approach because, if left untreated, there’s a risk of ongoing hospitalization.”
Through Senior Life Solutions, up to ten patients undergo four to five hours of treatment, three days a week. It provides patients an individualized treatment plan including group, individual and family therapy, as well as psychiatric evaluation, medication education, psychiatric medication management and discharge planning.
“It will also feature telepsychiatry, or secure video conferencing, capability to help patients continue consistent care plans even when weather or other issues may disrupt their schedules,” Perry added.
Mercy Hospital Cassville underwent renovations to make room for the program, which is a partnership with Psychiatric Medical Care, LLC. Team members include a Mercy board-certified psychiatrist, manager and a Mercy licensed therapist, who partner with other local providers.
“Behavioral health issues historically take a back seat to everything else,” explained Doug Stroemel, president of Mercy Hospital Cassville. “This is going to make a big difference for many lives in the region.”
“The response so far has been great, since it’s such a needed service,” Perry said. “We’ve had tremendous support; it’s important to be part of a community and work with other systems and independent providers. With this, we’re building a better continuum of care.”
Perry, along with nurse Kathy Holle, previously worked on a similar program at Mercy Hospital Carthage. Perry says usually within six to eight weeks of admission, an overwhelming majority of patients show an improvement with their depression, anxiety and overall life satisfaction. “Patients typically have wonderful outcomes,” she said. “We are so committed. They can stay as long as it’s benefitting them — even a year if that’s what it takes.”
The Senior Life Solutions team operates under the following “3 Cs”:
Referrals must be made by a patient’s physician, health care professional or family member. “If a patient meets admission criteria, we’ll visit them in their own home or environment to see if they’d be a good fit for this program,” Perry added. “In less than a week, they can be booked for the program.”
“I’m excited to have a quality outpatient program that will be able to stand on its own,” Stroemel added. “It’s going to provide important services for those who need it, closer to home.”
To learn more about the program, call Lynsey Perry at 417-847-6042.