Parkridge Valley cuts ribbon on adult campus

Parkridge Valley cuts ribbon on adult campus

May 31st, 2013 by Kate Harrison Belz in Local Regional News

Brennan Francois of Parkridge Valley

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

WHAT HAS CHANGED

* Parkridge Valley Adult & Senior Campus, 7351 Courage Way: Only adult psychiatric patients will be treated at this site.

* Parkridge Valley Child and Adolescent Campus, 2200 Morris Hill Road: Only child psychiatric patients will be treated at this 104-bed site.

* Parkridge Medical Center, 2333 McCallie Ave.: Psychiatric patients will no longer be housed at this site.

Source: Parkridge Medical Center

In mental health care, a gymnasium may be as important as therapy room. A tree-lined window view can soothe in certain ways medication can't. Interactive classes can be as crucial as moments of isolation.

The new Parkridge Valley Adult & Senior Campus is geared toward the multifaceted components of behavioral health care, its directors said at the hospital's ribbon-cutting Thursday.

"Being near the outdoors is huge. We may hang bird feeders in the windows. Those little elements can have an important impact on our seniors," said Susan Farmer, medical director for the hospital's Senior Life psychiatric program.

Her patients will move from the fifth floor of Parkridge Medical Center's McCallie Avenue site to the new, more outdoors-accessible facility off Lee Highway.

The geriatric patients are just one segment of the adult psychiatric population to be transferred the new 64-bed campus.

The facility also will become the treatment hub for adult patients now at the Parkridge Valley campus on Morris Hill Road, which also offers child and adolescent services.

Adult patients will be transferred to the new facility -- a remodeled children's hospital -- on June 12.

Consolidating the adult groups will relieve overcrowding, said Parkridge Valley CEO Brennan Francois, and will keep more age-appropriate services to under one roof.

"It's been a long time coming," Francois said. "We've been serving a large population of both adults and kids. We needed an opportunity to spread out the activity areas and unit areas for both populations."

The adult facility's services include its Senior Life program, acute psychiatric care, substance abuse programs, behavioral health therapy, a partial hospitalization program and daytime intensive outpatient program, and Respond -- the psychiatric version of an emergency room with 24-hour crisis assessment and intervention.

The new campus' opening comes a year after Parkridge began refurbishing the old Cumberland Hall children's psychiatric hospital, which was closed abruptly in 2010. Major mold contamination was found at the site months later.

Parkridge, which is owned by the Hospital Corporation of America, made some room for Cumberland's former patients, but the tight squeeze prompted hospital officials to buy the old Cumberland property.

The building, which had to be gutted, now boasts freshly painted cream walls, imitation wood flooring and wide windows.

Francois said the goal was to create "a bright, safe and warm environment."

The hospital expansion opens just months before the 40th anniversary of when Valley Hospital opened the first private psychiatric hospital in Chattanooga.

"Lately there has been significant public conversation about mental health and how we deal with it, how we treat it, and how we integrate people back into society," said state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson -- who is also a physical therapist with Parkridge Medical Center -- at the ribbon-cutting.

"Valley has been aware of this for over 40 years."

Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at kharrison@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673.