Health briefs: Baystate opens temporary youth behavioral health unit

  • Workers construct a rapid response triage outside the Emergency Department at Baystate Health in Springfield, Monday, Mar. 16, 2020. GAzette file photo

Published: 5/3/2021 4:31:05 PM
Baystate Health opens temporary youth behavioral health unit

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health opened a temporary 12-bed child/adolescent psychiatric unit on its Baystate Medical Center campus last week, as part of an effort to address the critical shortage of behavioral health services for children in the region.

“This new unit serves as a bridge allowing us to provide inpatient psychiatric care for children and adolescents over the next two years until our new Baystate-Kindred Healthcare joint venture behavioral health hospital opens with a permanent pediatric/adolescent unit,” said Dr. Barry Sarvet, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Baystate Health.

Due to the reduction of available pediatric behavioral health beds in the region, compounded by the increased demand for these services during the pandemic, many vulnerable children have been left without any available inpatient resources. This has resulted in alarming numbers of children waiting for days and weeks in the emergency room and on pediatric medical units.

“While the new temporary unit will be owned and operated by Baystate Health, our partners at Kindred Behavioral Health Services will be assisting us in managing its day-to-day operations and staffing the unit with nurses and mental health counselors, Sarvet said. “Child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners from the Baystate Health department of psychiatry will oversee the treatment of each patient on the unit.

The joint venture by Baystate Health and Kindred to create a behavioral health hospital in the region, for adults as well as children and adolescents, has received unanimous support from the Holyoke City Council to purchase land on Lower Westfield Road in Holyoke for construction of a $55 million, 150-bed hospital.

Baystate Health changes visitor policy

SPRINGFIELD — As more people in the community are being vaccinated, Baystate Health is updating its visitor policy guidelines. Beginning Monday, the hospital will open to visitation in the inpatient units and Emergency Departments at all Baystate hospitals.

All Baystate hospitals are now in the yellow tier — including Baystate Medical Center and Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, and Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer. That means that one visitor will be allowed at a time for patients who are not in the ICU; two visitors at a time for patients in the ICU; and two parents or guardians at a time for pediatric patients.

In addition, visiting hours have been extended from noon to 8 p.m.

All visitors must adhere to Baystate Health infection control practices that are in effect throughout the health system: wearing facemasks, frequent handwashing, maintain physical/social distance of 6 feet as possible, and no shared food sources.

Cooley Dickinson earns top hospital safety grade

NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Hospital earned an “A” in the spring 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a national distinction which recognizes the hospital’s achievements in providing safer health care.

According to The Leapfrog Group, the safety grade is a letter grade assigned to all general hospitals across the country and updated every six months, assessing how well a hospital prevents medical errors and other harms to patients.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Estevan Garcia notes the ‘A’ grade represents the fourth consecutive ‘A’ Cooley Dickinson has received.

“Despite the year-long COVID-19 pandemic, our staff continue to work exceptionally hard,” Garcia said. “To all the teams of clinicians across the organization, thank you for your diligence every day and for keeping each patient at the center of what you do!”


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