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Psychiatric hospital opening in Crown Point

August 11, 2018

CROWN POINT — The largest psychiatric hospital in the Region is set to open.

NeuroBehavioral Hospital showed off its new digs at 9330 Broadway on Thursday ahead of its expected opening next week.

“The difference with this facility is we can treat patients who are medically unstable,” said hospital CEO Regina Beard. “We can treat medical symptoms along with psychiatric symptoms, which is very rare.”

The 70-bed hospital takes care of psychiatric patients with comorbidities, such as heart disease and hypertension. Normally, mental health wards don’t treat complex medical issues, and the patients have to stay on the medical floor until those conditions are stabilized, Beard said.

Parent company NeuroPsychiatric Hospitals, a for-profit entity based in South Bend, owns four of the five similar hospitals like this in the U.S. (the other is at UCLA.) This is the company’s largest. The original is in Bremen.

The hospital’s opening comes at a time when suicides are increasing nationally and in Indiana (including Lake County). The number of reported suicides in the Hoosier state has risen nearly every year since 1999, up to 1,034 in 2016, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

Parts of Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties have also been designated by the federal government as having a shortage of mental health professionals.

NeuroBehavioral Hospital hopes to fill some of that need. The hospital largely cares for elderly patients, as they are more likely than their younger counterparts to have concurrent psychiatric and medical problems. The facility expects to get many of its patients from nursing, assisted-living and group homes, as well as some from local hospitals.

The hospital takes care of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, though not people who are detoxing. There is a unit specifically for patients with autism and other developmental disorders. The facility also offers physical, occupational and speech therapy. The hospital accepts a variety of insurances, from private to Medicare to Medicaid

There are no TVs or phones in the rooms, as a way to encourage patients to interact in the group space, which does have those amenities. Patients can play cards and blocks.

“The patients really like the social milieu,” said Tamara Brackeen, development director for NeuroPsychiatric Hospitals.

Hospital officials boasted of the facility’s “green” kitchen, which, with its high-speed fans, cooks food at a rapid pace, “juicer” and “three times healthier” than the average kitchen.

Ivy Tech Community College plans to bring nursing students to the hospital for clinical rotations, in the hopes of filling some of the shortage of psychiatric professionals in the Region.

“If we can stimulate that love for mental health nursing by rotating those students through this program and getting them prepared, they will have a nursing base for them to come in to work and maybe go on to become psychiatric nurse practitioners,” said Donnita Scully, a nursing instructor at Ivy Tech.

The facility has been treating 35 “test” patients in recent weeks in order to earn its Joint Commission accreditation, which hospital officials expect to come early next week.

“There’s definitely a need for this,” said S. Terry Top, executive director of New Leaf Resources, a counseling agency in Crown Point, Lansing and Wheatfield. “There’s a limited amount of good mental health treatment.”

The new psychiatric hospital is also still looking for employees.

“We’re hiring for nurses. We hiring for (licensed practical nurses). We hiring for (registered nurses). We’re hiring for dietary. We’re hiring for housekeeping,” Beard said. “We’re hiring for just about everything in the medical field you can think of.”

People can apply in person at the hospital or by sending a resume to NeuroBehavioralHospital@N-P-H.net. They can get more information by calling 219-648-2400.

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