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Plattsburgh hospital opens new adult inpatient psychiatric unit

CVPH Medical Center
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Vermont Health Network Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital

The hospital in Plattsburgh has opened a new psychiatric unit that expands the facility’s space and offers state of the art security and care for patients.

The new adult inpatient psychiatric unit is on the sixth floor of the University of Vermont Health Network’s Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital, or CVPH, Medical Center. The 19,000-square foot space is three times the size of the previous unit and features support and acute care services and private and therapy rooms. Security has been enhanced throughout the unit.

Clinical Education Manager for Psychiatry RN Zachary Kowalczyk led a tour prior to its formal opening.

“These are all pretty substantial upgrades. So please come this way. I'll show you the inpatient unit. Alright, right this way. We are an 18 bed, all private rooms. All private bath and shower. Our goal is to create as safe an environment as possible for our patients. But it's also as least restrictive as possible. This area we're entering here, these doors cannot be opened simultaneously. It helps to create again, a safer environment for our patients. The space we have here, we're really only gaining two operational beds. But there's over 60% increased space for the patients on the unit.”

Construction on the renovation was completed in March and certification was obtained following a walkthrough with officials from the New York Department of Health and Office of Mental Health. In April the hospital transitioned to a new electronic medical records system, so the unit opened this week. Kowalczyk emphasized the unit’s safety protocols.

“The environment itself is of the utmost safety. And then we augment that also with the staff members checking in on people, asking them how they're doing. The safety checks themselves, those are multiple times an hour. And then of course also every shift. Nurses, doctors, social workers are always checking in on people doing their daily assessments, treatment team meetings. Really what we're talking about here is a really across the board increase in every aspect of our patients’ care. The environment itself allows us to promote that safety. When we have that safety built into everything around us, then our staff members can spend more time directly interacting with our patients and providing care.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI Champlain Valley Director Amanda Bulris-Allen was a member of the steering committee that helped plan the new adult inpatient psychiatric unit.

“We all have seen over the last two years with COVID the huge impact mental health has had on all of us. Multiply that by, you know, 10 times for those who had already struggled with mental health. So the need just continues to be there. The hospital making the opportunity to give patients and families a space like this is, is amazing. People can and do recover. And a space like this provides the opportunity for people to recover. When people come into the hospital they're coming in crisis. Hopefully when they're leaving the hospital, they're leaving with a discharge plan so that they're able to work on their recovery goals and get back into a normal lifestyle. And a facility like this hopefully will promote that.”

The 18-bed unit is for adults only. The hospital operates a separate 12-bed child adolescent psychiatric unit on the hospital campus.