The Appalachian Regional Health System (ARHS) is proud to announce that its new Autonomous Regional Appalachian Behavioral Health Hospital (ARBH) will officially open on November 15, 2021.
âThe most important element of this new hospital is to provide service in a way that promotes the dignity of the patients and families we are here to serve. With our inpatient and outpatient services, our goal is to meet people where they are and for what they need at all times, âsaid Stephanie Greer, President of Appalachian Regional Behavioral Health.
ARBH will follow a tiered opening schedule to ensure patient needs are met every step of the way.
- On November 15, the new hospital will open with 10 beds, the same number currently housed at Cannon Memorial Hospital
- November 29, the bed capacity will increase to 15
- On December 13, a total of 20 beds will be available
- On December 27, ARBH will increase to 27 beds
- Patients can begin the self-presentation (walk-in) on December 27. Currently, law enforcement agencies will also be able to bring involuntarily engaged individuals directly to ARBH for assessment.
Meeting the needs of the High Country and beyond
Since 2008, the Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital (Cannon) has provided a safe and secure space for mental health patients who may have nowhere to go or have to travel a long distance to find care. aid. The new hospital, dedicated solely to behavioral health, will expand this to even more patients in the years to come.
Prior to the creation of ARBH, the 10-bed Cannon Inpatient Unit was the only inpatient behavioral health facility within a 40 mile radius, receiving more than 5,000 psychiatric referrals from across the state each year. Cannon was only able to admit about 11% of those referrals – an average of 560 patients per year.
The new 27-bed facility will be able to serve 1,500 patients each year, three times what Cannon has accommodated in the past.
“By increasing the number of behavioral health beds available, more High Country residents will be able to receive treatment near their homes in a timely manner,” said Greer.
Walk-in assessment starting December 27 will eliminate the need for emergency department visits
Across the state of North Carolina, patients in need of long-term psychiatric hospital beds typically wait about 92 hours – just under four days – in the emergency department. Locally, the average wait time to find appropriate treatment options for behavioral health patients is 16-18 hours. These emergency beds cannot be used for other medical emergencies while patients are awaiting transfer.
Once ARBH reaches full operational capacity on December 27, adults aged 18 to 64 with a problem will be able to enter the facility and behavioral health professionals will assess them to determine if they need to. inpatient or outpatient care. There is no need to be referred or to visit an emergency department first.
If a person does not need psychiatric hospitalization or involuntary engagement, crisis services can still be helpful with a plan of action and a referral to outpatient services.
What does a leading behavioral health treatment experience look like?
ARBH provides a premier treatment experience for patients. The healing environment includes open spaces with natural light and mountain views. Caregivers partner with patients to meet them where they are and offer a combination of coping skills and innovative therapeutic approaches.
âI am proud to work with a team that recognizes that you cannot neglect mental health as part of total health. Our team approach is a resource to help clients on their journey to wellness, realizing that the client is an integral part of the plan and decision-making process. Ella Markland, FNP / PMHNP, native of Avery County and behavioral health nurse practitioner.
To fulfill the mission of providing care while preserving the dignity and autonomy of the patient, the hospital is made up of three distinct spaces: admissions, the treatment center and the residence. All patients go through an admission process that includes nursing care, medical history, and physical evaluations. Upon admission, each patient will receive an individual program of meals, medication and therapeutic treatment.
The treatment center is where patients receive their treatment services. The hospital has three main group rooms with a different focus for each treatment session depending on the personalized plan the patient receives upon admission. During treatment sessions, notes are taken and printed at the end of each session for outpatients to add to their treatment manual, equipping them for success upon discharge.
Due to an active treatment plan, patients sleep and eat in the Residence area but are rarely in their rooms.
Family support systems are the cornerstones of behavioral health during the treatment and recovery process. Family members are invited and encouraged to attend treatment team meetings. These meetings provide information about the patient’s plan of care and treatment goals. Discharge and follow-up needs will also be discussed during treatment team meetings.
A patient’s relationship with ARBH may not end upon discharge. Patients can be referred to outpatient services for further treatment.
âUnlike any other diagnosis, there seems to be a stigma or fear of talking about behavioral health,â Greer said. âBut the truth is that one in four adults will suffer from a diagnosable mental illness each year. Our goal is to meet these people where they are and provide them with the care they desperately need. “
What to do if you or a loved one needs help
Eva Trivett-Clark, Manager of the Appalachian Region Behavioral Health Program (ARBH), shares advice for those who are concerned that they or a loved one is suffering from a mental health issue. “A general rule [for symptoms] is a noticeable increase or decrease in behaviors, thoughts or feelings, âTrivett-Clark said. âIncreased behavior can include speaking quickly, pacing, or sleeping too much. A decrease in typical behavior can include things such as withdrawing from family and friends, getting too little sleep, or feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Any suicidal thought, plan or behavior should be evaluated immediately by calling 911, going to ARBH, or going to the local emergency service (ED).
For less severe symptoms, getting help is as easy as calling Outpatient Behavioral Health at (828) 737-7888 or requesting an appointment online at apprhs.org/arbh. No reference is needed. Completing the Depression Screening Tool, available on the website, is often a good place to start in determining if you need help.
While asking for help may seem like a big step to some, perhaps the most difficult task is convincing a reluctant loved one (especially an adult) that they need professional help. Sometimes it is enough to listen, validate and ask questions, but if they have hurt themselves or are likely to do so, 911 must be called or they must be taken to the ARBH for a walk-in assessment.
The truth is, everyone fights sometimes. Whether mental illnesses stem from genetics, personality, life events, or brain chemistry, it’s important to know that it’s okay to not be well. Most mental illnesses do not get better on their own and, if left untreated, can get worse over time and cause serious problems. ARBH professionals are ready to help.
Although the new behavioral health hospital is part of ARHS, it is separate from Cannon, which will no longer house an inpatient behavioral health unit. Cannon will continue to operate as a fully accredited critical access hospital, comprising an inpatient acute care unit, full-service emergency department, imaging department, laboratory, outpatient behavioral health, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and physical and occupational therapies provided by the rehabilitation center.
Call (828) 737-7071 for more information about the Appalachian Regional Behavioral Health Hospital or visit apprhs.org/arbh.