New hospital unit to focus on care of elderly with mental health issues

Jun 4, 2019

Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit opens at Baptist Medical Center

About 20 percent of people age 55 and older suffer from a mental disorder. Suicide, depression and aggression are common among grandparents, elderly relatives and friends. Yet, older Americans underutilize mental health services. Poor access, stigma, denial and lack of trained professionals are some reasons.

Baptist Medical Center is answering the need by opening a hospital unit dedicated to the care of elderly patients with mental health issues. This new unit will be one of only four of its kind in San Antonio. Specially trained psychiatrists, physicians, RNS, LVNs and licensed therapists will concentrate on caring for the aging population with psychiatric issues such as suicidal thoughts, depression, or aggressive behaviors. Added education and therapy will meet the needs of the senior population in a compassionate and responsive environment. Patients will receive continuous 24-hour care provided by a nurturing team committed to improving the patients’ overall health. Joanne Sundin, Director of Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit stresses the importance of treating mental health problems in the elderly, which if left untreated can lead to other serious health problems such as cardiac malfunction, susceptibility to infection, pain, asthma and slow recovery from surgery.

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