Inpatient Psychiatric Unit Redesigned

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CHICAGO, Sept. 12 (UPI) — Officials of a Chicago hospital say their new inpatient psychiatric unit is much different from most current psychiatric units designed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Dr. John Csernansky, chairman of psychiatry at Northwestern Memorial’s Stone Institute of Psychiatry, says the plain white walls, fluorescent lights and sparse furnishings that make psychiatric units look like and feel like an institution will soon be a distant memory.

“At Northwestern, we’re reinventing the inpatient model of care by using everything we have learned from clinical neuroscience research to provide more effective care,” Csernansky says in a statement.

The new inpatient unit — consisting of 25 private rooms and two double rooms — was constructed to ensure patients maintain dignity, privacy and safety in a healing environment. The new space is filled with an abundance of natural light there is the ability to dim overhead lighting during sunrise and sunset to aid in treatment of sleep disturbances.

An exercise room includes treadmills, elliptical and bicycles as well as yoga classes.

“The integration of physical health with mental therapy is extremely important,” Dr. Cathy Frank, inpatient medical director at Stone, says. “Patients with mental disorders have a higher chance of developing physical problems. For example, people with schizophrenia have a 25-year shorter life span than the average adult because of the physical toll this mental disorder takes on the body and the risk of developing additional disorders.”

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