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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • St. John Hospital's Senior Behavorial Health Center Provides Expertise to Community

  • Since it was established, thousands of patients from eastern Kansas and western Missouri have received care at Saint John Hospital's Senior Behavioral Health Center right here in Leavenworth.
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  • Since it was established, thousands of patients from eastern Kansas and western Missouri have received care at Saint John Hospital's Senior Behavioral Health Center right here in Leavenworth. In fact, the center is the only one in the area dedicated to caring for adults over age 55 in need of psychiatric care. "Because we provide such highly specialized care, we see patients from as far away as Topeka, Kan. and Belton, Mo.," says Renee Azzouz, MSN, APRN, program director.
    The busy 18-bed inpatient unit specializes in treating patients over age 55 who have been diagnosed with mental health issues such as dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, depression, anxiety, grief reactions, confusion or thoughts of suicide.
    "Many of these patients are experiencing difficulty living on their own, with family or in nursing facilities," Azzouz says. "They may be having hallucinations or experiencing severe anxiety, making it difficult for them to continue living in their current environment."
    The Senior Behavioral Health Center, which is locked for patient safety, features a dedicated clinical staff. This includes psychiatrists, internal medicine physicians, psychiatric nurses who are also experienced in caring for medical/surgical patients, social workers, and physical/occupational/recreational therapists who are specially trained to understand the diverse and complex needs of the older patients they serve.
    Man Anand, M.D., psychiatrist and medical director of the Senior Behavioral Health Center, cares for each patient admitted to the unit. He is a board-certified psychiatrist, has long-term ties to the area and sees patients in the center seven days a week. "We have a highly-specialized program that has earned an excellent reputation for quality by providing comprehensive services for our older patients experiencing a wide range of psychiatric conditions," Dr. Anand says.
    Being a part of Saint John Hospital is an added measure of assurance for the program's patients and their families. "Each patient also is assigned a medical doctor because many patients have medical issues they are dealing with, in addition to a psychiatric diagnosis," Azzouz says.
    The center involves the individual patient, as well as family members, in the treatment process. They provide support, education, community resources and referrals. Patients participate in individual, group, family and activity therapies, as well as therapeutic interventions to help increase their level of function.
    In addition, the center's expertise is sought after in the community, with its psychiatrists providing outpatient services in more than 20 area nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The center's staff also trains caregivers at local facilities in how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness in older adults.

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