Thursday, January 17, 2008

I believe we have this problem in New Brunswick!!!

Originally uploaded by Oldmaison
I know of one case that the school system is placing a child all alone in a small room.

The kid gets frustrated and the teachers are carrying the kid by the arms and legs in the hallways in front of all the other students.

Ican't go public with the school until the Mother sends me an email.

Carilion to expand psychiatric offerings
A new inpatient unit, consisting of eight beds in Roanoke, will be opened to young children and teenagers.
By Christina Rogers

Come this April, Carilion Clinic plans to expand its inpatient psychiatric care to include treatment of children and teenagers with severe mental problems, such as schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder.

The demand for such services, especially for children younger than 12, is gravely needed in the region, say some mental health professionals.

The new inpatient unit will open with eight beds on the third floor of the health system's rehabilitation center near Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Officials plan to expand to 12 beds by year-end, said Dr. Mark Kilgus, chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at the health care not-for-profit.

Through this addition, Carilion officials said they hope to increase treatment options for children ages 5 to 17 who have mental disorders and substance abuse problems. The average stay will be about seven days for a patient in this age group.

Carilion already offers inpatient psychiatric treatment for adults with 32 staffed beds in Roanoke, and an additional 35 at its Saint Albans Behavioral Health center in Radford.

With its new inpatient psychiatric program, Carilion has expanded its staff of child psychiatrists to five over the past year. Carilion also plans to hire nine new nurses, a certified school teacher and two social workers to join the inpatient unit's staff.

Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem also offers inpatient care for children and teenagers and has a capacity of 20 staffed beds in operation -- six for children and 14 for teenagers -- said Paula Mitchell, the hospital's vice president of behavioral health.

But demand for children's beds has varied over the years and never hit capacity, Mitchell added.

For nearly a year, beginning in the summer of 2006, Lewis-Gale offered no inpatient psychiatric care for children younger than 12 to focus on care for teenagers when the demand was viewed as greater, Mitchell said. It resumed its treatment for children in August, she said.

Regardless, Mitchell said, any addition of psychiatric beds for children is a plus for the community and can help raise awareness of treatment options locally.

The total number of acute care psychiatric beds for children statewide is 287, a number that has decreased over the past five years, said Meghan McGuire, a spokeswoman with the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services.

That number includes both hospitals and state-run facilities, she added.

For some mental health professionals in the Roanoke area, this squeezing of resources is already being felt.

"There are kids that have disorders who are out of hand and dangerous, and there is nowhere for them to go but to Richmond or Lynchburg," said Dr. Cathy Taylor, a Roanoke-based clinical psychologist who treats patients ages 4 to 18.

She said the travel time is often grueling for the families who have to admit their children to hospitals outside of the region, especially because treatment often relies on their participation.

Taylor said she was not aware that Lewis-Gale had resumed its inpatient psychiatric care for children.

Meanwhile, Carilion's plans for the new unit include the addition of a training program for child psychiatry to follow residency that officials say will help encourage practitioners to stay in the region.

Adding such resources could also help alleviate a shortage of child psychiatric care in the area, said Taylor, who works with the 13-clinician Psychological Health Roanoke.

Generally, she said, there is a six- to eight-week wait for new patient appointments.

"So if a kid is in need of something, they can't get it unless they are hospitalized," Taylor said.

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