Press Releases

Yoakum Community Hospital Offers Innovative Geriatric Psychiatric Care Model

Yoakum, TX – April 5, 2018 – Yoakum Community Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital in rural South Central Texas, has developed an innovative psychiatric treatment model for older adults that helps promote a comprehensive and cost-effective continuum of care. Unique for a small critical access hospital, this pioneering, multi-disciplinary approach has proven highly effective in establishing and maintaining an environment conducive to mental healthcare for older adults facing emotional difficulties that include trauma, PTSD and depression.

An estimated seven million of the nation’s 39 million adults aged 65 years and older are affected by depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their treatment is often complicated by chronic co-morbidities including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Yoakum’s eight-year-old Geriatric Intensive Outpatient (IOP) and Geriatric Inpatient Assessment (GIA) programs help geriatric psychiatric patients who may not require psychiatric unit admission, regain their health and stability in a protective, nurturing and compassionate environment close to home rather than at a distant facility.

Yoakum recently presented the program’s positive results at the 2018 meeting of the American Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP), in Honolulu, Hawaii. Based on the presentation, further discussion has been requested by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the government organization that promotes research to improve the quality and safety of American healthcare.

“For older patients, leaving their familiar environment for hospitalized psychological care can be traumatic in itself and may adversely affect the patient’s clinical outcome,” said Jennifer Franklin, chief clinical officer at Yoakum Community Hospital. “Geriatric patients with psychiatric symptoms need the structure of an inpatient environment, but not necessarily the full spectrum of care provided by a traditional psychiatric unit or hospital. Our plan conclusively demonstrates that a small, critical access hospital, equipped with a skilled clinical team that includes a therapist and an expert psychiatrist, can successfully treat certain types of patients in a local setting. During and after recovery, patients can continue their curative relationships with the local professionals they know and trust.”

A novel, collaborative care model, the GIA opens the door for medical professionals to engage in further discussions focused on their methodology for providing inpatient psychiatric care. Data show that the IOP and GIA programs operated by Yoakum Community Hospital produce dramatically positive clinical outcomes (data available upon request), when compared to other care models. Confronted with declining Medicare revenues, Yoakum’s model proves that small rural hospitals can offer a successful, yet financially sustainable psychiatric model for community wellness.

The institutionalization and segregation of mentally impaired patients can be viewed as costly, confining, restrictive and punitive. Isolated from everyday life, these patients are often lonely and housed in large, impersonal facilities where they may endure programmed activities, lose their dignity and decision-making powers, or be unable to express their individuality. Conversely, the GIA establishes a safe, homelike environment with psychiatric services within the existing clinical care continuum.

As a continuum of care, the IOP and GIA programs at Yoakum Community Hospital have demonstrated the value of applying multiple treatment modalities including medical, psychiatric, social work and case management to treat and resolve several types of geriatric psychiatric problems.

With an expanding older population—every American baby-boomer will achieve retirement age by the year 2020—the ability to deliver cost- and clinically effective psychological results in a small, local hospital setting is especially important for the patient population and the sustainability of rural and urban hospitals.

About Yoakum Community Hospital

Yoakum Community Hospital, Yoakum, Texas, is a 25-bed, critical access hospital that has been serving area communities since 1922. The hospital provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services, including laboratory, rehabilitation, imaging, emergency, general medicine, diabetes education, treatment for sleep disorders, and surgery. Yoakum Community Hospital is designated as the only Level IV trauma center in the area, and has been recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the “100 Great Community Hospitals” based on quality of care and service to community. In 2018, Becker’s recognized CEO Karen Barber among 50 rural hospital CEOs to know for leading sustainable organizations. For more information, visit www.yoakumhospital.org.

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