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17. Common Mistakes



(Doug): Are there one or two common mistakes hospitals make when converting a unit to behavioral health?

(David): As I walk some of the older gero units, I think the number one mistake that I see being made is maybe not making the total investment that can be made into the unit to really make it another center of excellence for the hospital. In other words there can be a mindset that is we just need to fill this vacant space and bill for it. That’s a much different mindset than how do we make a great behavioral unit service. And when you ask it that way then you start to look at the quality of the space, making sure that patients are treated with dignity, that the color palette you use is something that’s comfortable and homelike. That this becomes a place where staff that work at the facility would have no problem whatsoever having a loved one be there. And we all know that at some point in our lives we can have needs where we need to be in a place like this. And so having that mindset, that empathetic mindset I think as you look at a behavioral unit is very, very important.

Sometimes for instance we’ll see facilities spare a little expense on the flooring and they’ll do a non-continuous flooring like a tile flooring. Well, for the geriatric population, after a year or so that decision can be disastrous and you end up with smells and an environment that is very much less than ideal. So you want to go into it with the right mindset and really create another center of excellence for your campus. And I think that’s where we see it being very successful.

(Doug): David, this is has been very informative, but as we know this is kind of only the tip of the iceberg when you’re looking into renovating space for a behavioral health unit. I really would like to thank you for taking the time today to come join us at Horizon Health to discuss this. And this is Doug Johnson, Senior Vice President Development at Horizon thanking everyone for joining this session today.