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Focusing Mood Disorders Treatment

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Rush University Medical Center has opened a new inpatient unit dedicated exclusively to the treatment of adults suffering from mood disorders. It is believed to be the only one of its kind in the Chicago area.

The 18-bed unit, with 12 semi-private and six private beds, serves individuals suffering from depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety. Completely renovated in 2009, the unit offers psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic treatment in a modern facility carefully designed to provide a comfortable and safe environment.

“By serving only individuals diagnosed with mood disorders, we can focus our treatment strategies and provide truly individualized care plans for our patients,” said Dr. William Scheftner, director of the new unit and chair of psychiatry at Rush.

Customized treatment plans are developed based on each patient’s needs, and include cognitive behavior therapy in both individual and group sessions, as well as medication. Education is an important aspect of the care, with the aim of helping patients understand their illness, participate in their treatment, develop coping strategies and successfully return to the community.

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Patients in the unit have access to all other specialists and medical and support services at Rush, including occupational therapy and spiritual support.

The unit itself was completely remodeled earlier this year with colors, artwork and architecture to foster a warm, healing atmosphere where patients can socialize.

The floor plan, which includes a common area, encourages the intermingling of staff and patients and alleviates feelings of isolation. Patients also have computer and Internet access.

Because patients suffering from mood disorders are at risk of harming themselves, the physical design of the facility includes numerous safeguards, such as a wander guard system, non-breakable windows, and special bathroom plumbing fixtures.

All aspects of care are provided by a collaborative team of mental health experts with specialized expertise in mood disorders, including psychiatrists, a psychologist, a social worker and psychiatric nurses. Staff work in partnership with referring providers and communicate with the patients’ significant others to ensure effective treatment and smooth transitions from hospital to home.

In addition to the new mood disorders unit, plans are under way at Rush for several other inpatient units: one for general psychiatry, one for pediatric psychiatry unit and one for geriatric psychiatry.