Comanche County Memorial Hospital recently transitioned their behavioral health service from being dedicated to helping seniors to those between the ages of 18 to 64. Penny Ramie, the Behavioral Health Director at CCMH, said going from being a geriatric unit to an adult unit meant they had to make some changes to the facility to make sure it was safe.
“We changed the furniture because adult patients are strong,” she said. “When they become angry, they can pick up chairs and hurt somebody, so we have actual behavioral health furniture that you can’t lift.”
All the doors were also taken off and replaced with magnetic mats, so patients can’t barricade themselves where staff can’t get to them in an emergency. Pictures and anything else that could be used to hurt a staff member or themselves had to be removed.
Eric Eimers-Mosier, the Supervisor of Behavioral Health at CCMH, said the people who are admitted to the unit are in a crisis. They try to help people who are suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, trauma disorders – like PTSD.
“We’re providing a secure, safe environment,” Eimers-Mosier said. “Getting them over that particular moment in time where they can then follow up with an outpatient provider and get started on medication. Follow up with an outpatient therapist to get them back on the right track.”
Patients usually stay somewhere between 5 and 7 days, and while they’re in the unit, they are on a schedule.
“They have a regular bedtime, meal times, group times, time to see the doctor, time to see the therapist,” Eimers-Mosier said. “So, it’s a structured environment to sorta get them back to a normal state of mind.”
The psychiatrist has sessions with each patient daily through telemedicine. He is based out of Oklahoma City and is available every weekday during business hours. However, multiple nurse practitioners trained in this field are on call when needed.
“Typically, the patient sits right here in front of the monitor, and we’ve got a staff member with the patient,” Ramie said. “Either a mental health technician or a nurse.”
Eimers-Mosier hopes people know there’s always help if they or a loved one needs it.
“A lot of people don’t know how prevalent psychiatric illness and substance abuse orders are in our area and that there are resources available,” Eimers-Mosier said.
If someone is concerned about a loved one, he said they can call, and they’ll give the guidance the family needs to get their loved one the help needed.