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Jacobi Unveils New Psychiatric Emergency Space

One of the most vital programs in Jacobi Medical Center now has its own emergency room.

Since the mid-1950s, the psychiatric emergency room at Jacobi shared space with the hospital’s main emergency room.

As part of Jacobi’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, the newly built Psychiatric Emergency Department was unveiled with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony and facility tour on Thursday, May 26.

Jacobi’s psychiatric emergency room, which saw a total of 5,228 visits in 2010, will now operate out of a state-of-the-art 11,000 square-foot facility that includes separate pediatric and adult waiting areas, patient interview rooms, patient holding rooms and six extended observation bedrooms.

“It was something that was very badly needed at this hospital,” said William Walsh, senior vice president of the North Bronx Healthcare Network. “Jacobi has long been known for its specialty in its psychiatric department. For years, there has been a world-class staff here, but now they have a world-class facility to operate in.”

CPEP is a state-licensed program that offers psychiatric emergency services, a mobile crisis team, crisis residence and extended observation beds. It treats patients from early childhood to geriatric age that present major mood or psychiatric disorders, substance associated disorders, organic mental syndromes or acute behavioral complications.

The facility, which was constructed by TDX Construction Corporation, is completed and will soon be opening to serve patients. Nearly 100 guests joined the ceremony and were brought on a tour of the facility for sneak peak of what it has to offer patients.

Dr. Arnold Merriam, who is the chairman of the Behavioral Health Services at Jacobi, believes the new emergency room was vital to the modern changes and improvements in psychiatric practice.

“The original psychiatry emergency room was considered a modern design in 1953,” Merriam said. “Since then, much has changed in psychiatric practices. Thankfully, we now have an environment of care that is as close to ideal as possible. It’s respectful of what our patients need and they deserve a calm and soothing environment, not a chaotic emergency room.”

At the new Psychiatric Emergency Room, patients will be evaluated in a holding room that can hold 10 to 12 patients. If further evaluation is deemed necessary, up to six patients can be placed in individual observation bedrooms for up to three days.

In these rooms, furniture, doors and windows are specially designed for the safety of patients. After the three-day period, patients are either admitted to the Jacobi Psychiatric Ward, or transferred to another location, best suited for their needs.

“It took a lot of work, but it’s great to see this CPEP dream become a beautiful reality,” said Diane Carr, deputy executive director of the North Bronx Healthcare Network.

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