Expanding Mental Health Services in Monticello

Being “healthy” means having good physical and mental health at any age. In Central Minnesota, people age 55 and older make up one of the fastest growing populations, which means the health care needs for many people is changing. One area of care that continues to be challenging to address — specifically for our aging population — is mental health. In Monticello, leaders saw an opportunity to develop an innovative solution to provide much needed mental health services for those in need.

Traditionally, behavioral health units have been led by psychiatrists. However, CentraCare Health — Monticello developed a unique and innovative model to meet the needs of the community. They built a team, led by geriatricians, that partners with psychiatrists, nurses, clinical social workers and others to treat the individual’s comprehensive health needs – not just their mental health. This approach, which is the first of its kind in the U.S. to use this structure, came to fruition when the CentraCare Health — Monticello Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit opened in June 2017. The 10-bed unit provides 24/7 inpatient medical and behavioral care to people 55 years and older.

“It’s rewarding to provide this important service to the geriatric population in our community,” said Chris Walker, director of inpatient mental health units at CentraCare. “Our partnership with consulting psychiatrists and geriatricians has been phenomenal. And our care team’s experience working with not only patients, but their families, has really been key to our early success.”

The Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit is equipped with experts who have the experience to treat a number of conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and dementia. To complement these core services, animal assistive therapy, music, art, yoga and aromatherapy are also offered to support the needs of the patients.

Patients are admitted from care centers, assisted living facilities, memory care units, primary care physicians and emergency rooms. The unit offers a confidential and safe environment with appropriate safety requirements, professionally trained staff and around-the-clock surveillance.

Click here to learn more about the Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit in Monticello.

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