The Children's Institute Blog

Behavioral Health Unit Celebrates First Anniversary

Posted: Aug 08, 2017 by The Children's Institute

One thing hasn’t changed since our state-of-the-art Behavioral Health Services inpatient unit opened last year.

“The design of the program is meant to acknowledge the interaction between physical health and behavioral health – our goal is to be able to treat the whole child in a holistic way,” said Dr. Aileen Oandasan, Medical Director of Behavioral Health. “That’s sort of the push in behavioral health and in healthcare these days … and only one or two other places are developing this in a specialized setting.”

Or there’s the way Director of Behavioral Health Services Tammy Marsico puts it.

“We have a great philosophy and design of services,” she said. “We’re going to refine that in our second year.”

The pediatric unit, a 24/7-run integrative program with 16 beds that had more than 200 admissions in its first 12 months, will focus on keeping up a census, expanding mindfulness therapies, and continuing to build and invest in a frontline staff that will lead the unit’s mission in coming months, they said.

“We’re very aware as leadership we want to have a positive culture,” Tammy said. “And we have people here who make great contributions, who share ideas, who create protocols.”

And then there are patients, an integral part to the lifeblood of the fourth floor at The Children’s Institute. It is the interaction between staff and patients, who by definition are finding themselves in a crisis situation, that keeps the unit going day-to-day, one mother said.

“I believe the staff is extremely caring and supportive – and they went above and beyond to assess our needs, the needs of our child and our family,” said the mother, who preferred to remain anonymous to protect the identification of her child. “The counseling staff offered us strategies to help us move to a better place. Truly, the quality of care was exceptional.”

Intake specialist Courtney Hindmarch and Case Management Liaison Crystal Miles said, while other places they’ve worked have talked the talk about keeping kids in crisis connected to services – even after they check out of inpatient units – The Children’s Institute walks the walk.

“For a lot of people, inpatient behavioral health units can be scary,” Crystal said. “At the end of the day, they’re human beings. They’re people who deserve our compassion. They’re just kids.”

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