Dr. Agha Shahid and Julie Kookoothe are outside of the new new psychiatric unit at ProMedica Flower Hospital.
The newly constructed multi-million dollar psychiatric wing at ProMedica Flower Hospital was designed with patient safety as the top priority.
The hospital in Sylvania began construction last year of a new wing for psychiatric services. Located on the third floor, the 12,000-foot area brings the space for the department to nearly 30,000 square feet.
Opened in March, the wing emphasizes patient safety, preventing injury and suicide. It cost $6 million to construct, officials said.
“We have gone into the details with safety,” Dr. Agha Shahid, psychiatric department medical director, said.
He pointed out the new doors that have a smooth-gapless hinge, called a piano hinge. The doors are shaped with a slanted top edge preventing hanging or hooking any material on it.
Doors have been installed that have a smaller door carved into the frame of the door, known as a wicket door and to allow medical professionals to reach a patient who has barricaded himself in, Dr. Shahid said.
A Wicket door, which has a door within a door to allow staff access into the room in case the main door is barricaded.
Julie Kookoothe, Psychiatric Department interim director, said the bathrooms were designed with anti-ligature fixtures. The bathroom and bedroom are the spots that pose the biggest suicide risk, she said.
“We monitor our patients every 15 minutes," she said. "However, you have to weigh optimum safety with giving a patient privacy, so we put safety features in place to assist in that.”
That includes a shower bar that holds curtains but cannot support weight beyond that. Faucets are smooth without gaps or crevices to hook onto. All bathroom fixtures, such as piping, are hidden and not visible.
Dr. Shahid said the additional wing, which has 33 beds, enables the hospital to meet an increasing community need for psychiatric care. In 2010, the psychiatric department had 1,622 patient discharges. That increased by 20 percent in 2012. The department has another wing on the third floor for acute care which has 31 beds and a psychiatric intensive care unit on the second floor which has 10 beds.
The department treats patients suffering from mental illness, including dementia, schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. Dr. Shahid said that some patients suffering from mental illness have substance abuse as a secondary diagnosis to the mental ailment.
The new unit includes two group rooms, an activity therapy room, and a day room or common area, lined with windows made of Lexan, a sturdy polycarbonate plastic that doesn't shatter even after subjected to blunt attacks.
The department also stepped up its safety education initiative in the past two years as well, Mrs. Kookoothe said. Patients are taught and all staff, including security personnel, are given information about different illnesses and mental diseases the hospital treats. The staff can identify behaviors associated with illnesses, understanding what a patient is suffering, officials said.