BRISTOL, Conn.— On Aug. 9, 2019, Bristol Health celebrated the opening of its new outpatient behavioral health unit which is housed in the Bristol Hospital Emergency Center.
Bristol Health is in the midst of a major renovation and expansion of its Emergency Center as part of the Operation Ergency Campaign which is being coordinated by the Bristol Hospital Development Foundation. The purpose of the project is to enhance the physical environment of the Emergency Center to accompany the high-quality care provided by the emergency medicine team. The major component of Phase One of the renovation is the newly-constructed10-bed, 2700-square-foot behavioral health unit within the Emergency Center. Construction of the locked unit began in March and is exclusively for patients of the Emergency Center who are undergoing treatment for mental health and/or substance abuse conditions.
“Like many of our projects, this new behavioral health unit is based on community need. Our assessments show that substance abuse and mental health issues are by far, the greatest health need in Bristol,” said Bristol Health President and CEO Kurt A. Barwis, FACHE. “The design of the unit is more conducive for patients are who are undergoing mental health treatment right down to the paint and artwork on the walls.”
Barwis added that the design of unit has a calming effect on patients with features that are designed with the behavioral health patient’s safety in mind including secured beds and furniture, safely installed bathroom and door fixtures, natural light via safety glass, and a centralized nursing station where patients can be constantly monitored via video.
Andrew Lim, MD, Bristol Health’s chairman of emergency medicine, helped lead the planning of the behavioral health unit and said that patient and provider safety was the main priority of the project.
“This new unit is a very comfortable environment for those who come to the Emergency Center with a mental health condition. The unit also frees up much need beds for those with other conditions,” said Dr. Lim. “The Emergency Center staff has protocols in place for treatment and deciding next steps on whether following a psychiatric evaluation, these patients can be discharged or admitted to Bristol Hospital’s inpatient behavioral health unit for continued treatment.”
So far, over $3.5 million has been raised for the Operation Ergency Campaign. Some of the generous gifts include those from the Barnes Family and the Barnes Group Foundation, the Maximillian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation Inc, the Robert Rosenheim Foundation Inc. and the Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation. Additionally, the proceeds from the Bristol Hospital Development Foundation’s three major fundraising events—the Festival of Wines and Spirits, annual golf tournament and annual ball—are supporting the campaign. Physicians and employees of Bristol Health have also contributed a substantial amount to the Operation ERgency capital campaign, including proceeds from regularly schedule denim days and clinical dress down days.