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Patient Stories

Behavioral Health Advisory Council

Open and frank dialogue is a cornerstone of psychiatry, so it makes perfect sense for Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital to impanel a diverse group of participants on its Behavioral Health Advisory Council. Indeed, the nine-person Advisory Council, formed in 2011, includes three hospital staff members and six former patients. “Our mission is to have a patient and family perspective on operations within the hospital,” says Christine Simpson, LCSW, an employee advisor on the council and a social worker at YNHPH. “We openly discuss policies, procedures and programming so that the patients, their families and staff can join together in a team effort to make the hospital a better place for patients to receive care.”

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Innovative Care

Some hospital patients may develop psychiatric symptoms that can interfere with their medical care and safety. Conversely, patients with mental disorders can develop medical issues that require hospitalization. Agitated delirium, for instance, can be triggered by surgery or acute medical treatment for chronic illnesses such as cancer. In an innovative shift, multidisciplinary teams at Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital have developed the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT), a program to screen patients for behavioral issues as they’re being admitted to the medical units at YNHH. Developed by William Sledge, MD, YNHPH’s Medical Director, the BIT is now being considered for implementation in a variety of hospitals around the country for its demonstrated favorable impact on the care of hospitalized medical patients.

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Inpatient Treatment

An innovative inpatient program at Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital (YNHPH) makes weekday mornings a busy time. That’s when many of the adult patients in the hospital’s four different care units are allowed to choose which group-therapy session to attend that morning. They can opt for the one held just for patients in their unit or for one of two specialized “Treatment Mall” groups that include patients from all four units: general adult, dual diagnosis (psychiatric and substance abuse), adolescent and geriatric.

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The Gold Standard

Robert Ostroff, MD, takes the low-tech road when commuting to work each day. He rides his bike to Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, where conversely he runs the very high-tech electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) program. “This is the gold standard,” says Ostroff, a psychiatrist who launched the program at YNHPH. “ECT is the most effective treatment for treatment-resistant depression.”

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