Starr Regional Medical Center - Etowah's Senior program offers individualized care in a warm, supportive atmosphere. As individuals age, they experience the loss of loved ones, a changing lifestyle and increased physical challenges. This can lead to sadness and withdrawal and could signal underlying illness which may affect every member of the family. This is why the first step taken by our professional team is a very thorough evaluation to help determine what is causing the behavioral and mental changes. We also check for any underlying medical or biochemical origins.
After the initial assessment we will work with the patient, family and other health professionals to develop a course of treatment. It is important for family members to understand what is going on with their loved one, and our treatment team encourages family members to participate in the patient's treatment process. Our nurses, psychiatrists, trained counselors and social workers can help with all aspects of a person's life.
The multidisciplinary Senior Care staff includes a geriatric psychiatrist, registered nurses, social workers and physical therapists. A geriatric psychiatrist is a medical doctor with specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in older adults. Initial consultation with the psychiatrist will provide a comprehensive overview of the patient that includes need for medication, family support, social factors, and emotional and physical issues.
Working together, the Senior Care team will enable senior patients to improve their quality and outlook on life, better care for themselves, and follow primary care provider's directions, particularly about taking medications.
The Senior Care team will work with the patient and family to develop an appropriate aftercare plan to help maintain progress made while in the hospital.
Education Plays a Vital Role
The specialists on our Senior Care team are committed to offering educational seminars or in-services for your group or agency. We want you to be aware that the following signs and symptoms are not normal and may signify a mental illness in the elderly.
- Insomnia or too much sleep
- Crying spells
- Poor appetite or overeating
- Disregard for personal appearance
- Sad or blank look on face
- Thoughts of suicide
- Forgetfulness or confusion
- Social Isolation
- Caregiver's stress and burnout
- Overview of types of mental illness in the elderly
A daily schedule of treatment related activities is designed to provide each patient with opportunities to focus on a strong recovery.
Examples of typical treatment activities include:
- Goal Meetings or Goals Groups are designed to assist the patient and staff to develop a concise focus for the day regarding how the patient and the program staff will collaborate to achieve the overall goals of treatment plan. The purpose of these types of interventions is to model the behaviors of goal setting, goal achievement evaluation, and goal modification.
- Group therapy offers the support and companionship of other people experiencing the same or similar problems and issues. There are many different kinds of group therapies for varying purposes, but all therapy groups exist to help individuals grow emotionally and solve personal problems through the power of the group and process.
Medication Management & Education
Medications play a significant role in psychiatric stabilization and treatment. As with any medication, there are benefits and risks you should know about. Starr Regional Medical Center will provide education about the medications we prescribe and the importance of taking the medications as prescribed.
Patients and families should always ask questions if the medication doesn’t seem to be working, or if they want to discontinue a medication for any reason.
What to expect after discharge?
The hospital will provide the patient with a discharge instruction document and typically refer the patient to additional services outside of the hospital. The process of recovery that started in the hospital will often continue on an outpatient basis, with the patient seeing a physician to monitor and manage medications and a therapist to continue addressing the longer term needs of the patient. The patient will be re-evaluated from time to time to ensure that adequate progress is being made.