Tifton Gazette

Local News

January 9, 2010

Hospital expected to fill need

TIFTON — A new geriatric psychiatric unit at Berrien County Hospital in Nashville is set to open soon, and proponents of the center say it will fill a great need in the South Georgia community.

According to Carla Fowler, the chief nursing officer of Berrien County Hospital, the facility was built in response to the need for psychiatric care for senior citizens facing a plethora of difficulties.

“A lot of people have a time coping with the changes of getting older,” Fowler said. “The loss of independence, the loss of spouses, the loss of physical abilities and declining health are a few of their challenges.”

The Dogwood Senior Health Center is a 12-bed unit on the hospital’s campus on East McPherson Avenue in Nashville, but it’s not like a hospital.

“It has a homelike setting, not the clinical scenario like a bright white hospital,” Fowler said.

Patients of the center won’t just lie in bed, get medicated and recover but will be involved and interact with others in daily activities geared to their recovery from such ailments as depression and others. Brenda McCorvey will serve as program director at the center.

Patients of the center will receive 24-hour nursing care and the staff includes a psychiatrist, medical doctors, social workers and activity therapists. Emergency services are close by. The stay for patients ranges from 14 to 21 days, depending on the needs of the patient. The center features all new beds and furniture and is separated from the rest of the hospital, although it functions as part of the hospital.

The center’s grand opening is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday. Fowler said the first patients will be accepted Jan. 18.

Fowler said the need for the center’s services have been confirmed through conversations with those who operate nursing homes and assisted living centers in the area. Anyone can recommend that someone become a patient of the center. Once an application is submitted, a registered nurse acting as an assessment coordinator visits with potential patients and their caregivers to determine if the center is a suitable place for them to get assistance.

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