Bristol Hospital building inpatient senior behavioral health unit

BY John Stearns

Submitted photo
Submitted photo
Dr. Margarita Reyes leads Bristol Hospital’s Center for Geriatric Medicine.
Bristol Hospital plans to convert a 6,150-square-foot space inside its campus at 41 Brewster Road into a new inpatient senior behavioral health unit to treat patients who are primarily 65 and older with acute psychiatric and behavioral disorders.

The 15-bed inpatient unit, which will include private and semi-private rooms, is being built on Level F of the hospital and is scheduled to be completed early next year. Project cost was not released for the work, which is converting space once used for patient care and more recently for administrative purposes.

The new unit will treat patients suffering from such conditions as dementia, depression, severe anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis, according to Dr. Margarita Reyes, who leads Bristol Hospital's Center for Geriatric Medicine. The team also will address medications, dietary needs, family issues and social concerns. A community education manager will be the liaison with a network of nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities, which will serve as one of the primary referral sources for the inpatient senior behavioral health unit.

A geriatric psychiatrist is being recruited to lead a team of nurses, psychiatric advance practice registered nurses, social workers and therapists who specialize in the care of geriatric patients with behavioral health issues, said Dr. Nachiyappan Manoharan, medical director of behavioral health for the Bristol Hospital Multi-Specialty Group.

The unit is expected to create 30 new positions, mostly full time, said Michelle Miranda, director of inpatient services, adding that recruitment for some positions has begun.

The unit was born out of the hospital's community health needs assessment, which showed senior care and access to such services is a priority with Bristol residents, Reyes said, adding there are a limited number of units like it in Connecticut.