New location of Behavioral Health and Access Center offers a ‘brighter atmosphere’ to welcome patients

ST. GEORGE— The Intermountain Behavioral Health and Access Center is moving into its new location at the Dixie Regional Medical Center River Road campus on Monday, providing more space and a brighter atmosphere for patients and staff alike.

The outside of the north tower at the new Dixie Regional Medical Center River Road campus, St. George, Utah, Aug. 23, 2018 | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

Both centers will be moving from their current location on the 400 East campus to the fourth floor of the north tower at the River Road campus at 1380 E. Medical Center Drive. The Access Center is scheduled to open at their new location Monday at 7 a.m., and staff anticipate that the relocation of any patients at the Behavioral Health Center, as well as beds and offices, will be completed by early afternoon.

This move is anticipated to be much less complicated than the Women and Newborn Center, which is moving into its new location in the same building Dec. 11. 

Read more: It’s only 2 miles, but upcoming move of Intermountain Women and Newborn Center a ‘complex process’

The Intermountain Behavioral Medicine unit offers short-term inpatient therapeutic care for those experiencing any kind of disabling mental or emotional crisis, such as acute depression, anxiety or severe thought disorders. Patients can stay between three to 14 days depending on their treatment needs.

The move to the new campus has allowed the Behavioral Medicine unit to expand their facilities from 13 beds to 18 beds, as well as hire an additional therapist, said Jeremy Nielsen, manager of behavioral health.

Not only are there additional beds, but the rooms are brighter and more spacious, designed with large windows, colorful walls and soothing artwork. They also added larger rooms for group classes and activities.

“I’m really excited for our patients to have these larger, brighter rooms and a new up-to-date space,” Nielsen said. “I’m really excited to see that, because it’s going to be amazing for them.”

The Behavioral Health Access Center offers short-term 24-hour stabilization for patients who are in crisis but do not necessarily need to be admitted for inpatient care. Patients are allowed to stay up to 24 hours, but the average stay is 12 hours.

People who might seek the help of the Access Center include those who are struggling with thoughts of self-harm or having troubles in their daily life. The center provides a place where they can find help or resources.

The view from the Intermountain Behavioral Access Center’s community room, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2018 | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

When a patient arrives at the Access Center they are given a medical evaluation and then speak with a crisis worker, an advanced practice clinician and a psychiatrist. They talk through their crisis and are offered community resources for any further care they may need.

While starting to become more prevalent, access centers are still not very common. However, Intermountain now has three centers, which Nielsen said has greatly reduced the average stay duration for patients, since most crises can be resolved within 24 hours.

“It’s really just a community-facing department, which in my experience has really helped people to get through crisis,” Nielsen said.

He added that the design of the Access Center is consistent with that of the Behavioral Health unit and has the best views in the entire hospital.

The new Access Center has nine patient bays, three more than they had at the 400 East campus. Additionally, the new center is closer to the Behavioral Health unit, allowing staff to work in both centers, thereby increasing coverage. It is now also in the same building as the emergency room, allowing patients who go to the ER during crisis to be more easily transferred to the Access Center.

“Now they can present directly to the access center and start the process of healing sooner,” Nielsen said.

Written by MIKAYLA SHOUP, St. George News.

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