Mercy Hospital Ardmore has announced the opening of its Senior Behavioral Health Unit.

Described as a short-term inpatient unit, the new 16-bed facility is designed to provide psychiatric services for individuals over the age of 65. Located within the new patient bed tower on Mercy Hospital Ardmore’s main campus, the unit officially opened July 1 and is already treating patients.

Hospital officials confirmed a contract with Telecare, a management company that will provide the specific psychiatric components of the program.

Todd Ferrand, program director for Mercy Senior Behavioral Health, says, “Telecare is only responsible for the startup of this unit and management only, it is a Mercy service line.”

Ferrand said the unit’s staff includes:

- One psychiatrist

- Medical physicians

- Eight registered nurses

- Three licensed practical nurses

- Two certified nurses aides and technicians

- One licensed social worker

- Two licensed recreational therapists

- Two occupational therapists

“Additionally, with the unit being located in the hospital, the patients benefit from the services of a registered dietician and 24-hour pharmacy, as well as an immediate response to any medical crisis that can be experienced by the geriatric population,” Ferrand said. “We are delighted for the opportunity to bring a service to the area that has not been readily available. Our goal is to provide the best possible care to our growing senior population.”

The unit provides services tailored to address the unique needs of seniors. Average patient stays are 10 to 14 days, during which time seniors receive strategies for managing the challenges of emotional and psychological distresses such as anxiety, depression, changes/problems with medication and dementia.

A patient, physician or referring party may contact the intake/admissions department of the unit to receive an initial screening for admission. Ideally, the inpatient stay will be planned, allowing staff to assess the patient and develop an initial treatment and discharge plan.

“Mercy’s goal is to become the leader in south central Oklahoma in providing behavioral health services for our growing senior population, allowing them to stay close to home,” said Daryle Voss, Mercy Hospital Ardmore president. “There is a true need for a program like this in our area as patients are traveling well over an hour to receive this type of inpatient care.”