Bournewood Hospital, a 90-bed, full-service independent privately-owned psychiatric facility in Brookline, Mass., in May will debut a new Mental Health Partial Hospital Program.
The new partial hospital program is a group program providing step-down or diversionary service for adults in mental health crisis who need more intensive treatment than can be provided in an outpatient setting, but who can appropriately receive treatment and services in the community.
“The program will help individuals who are not quite ready to resume school or work or who just need more intensive treatment, because a lot of people do well in the hospital then when they get discharged, it can be challenging,” said Marcia Fowler, MA, JD, chief executive officer at Bournewood.
The program is also well-suited as a diversion from hospitalization for those individuals who don’t need an inpatient level of care but who need more intensive treatment than at the outpatient level.
The program can accommodate more than 20 patients and will run Monday through Friday. Fowler said the average length of participation is expected to be about two weeks to 20 days.
Bournewood already has two adult Dual Diagnosis Partial Hospital programs (one in Brookline and one in Woburn) and an Adolescent Partial Hospital program in Brookline.
The Mental Health Partial Hospital Program is appropriate for adults with mood or anxiety disorders, depression, psychosis and other forms of major mental illness who can participate in a group setting.
“We have inpatient psychiatric beds but don’t have a psychiatric or mental health partial program, so we felt this was a missing piece in the continuum of care,” Fowler said. “This new partial program will be the first of an expansion state-wide for Bournewood, in developing more partial programs.”
Fowler said there is a need for more partial programs state-wide. “You really want to have a continuum of services to meet people where they are at,” she said. “Not everybody can be stabilized with outpatient services and not everybody needs the most expensive, highest level of care. The majority of people are somewhere in between, and we’re really committed to trying to fill that gap between the two ends of the spectrum.”
Partial hospitalization allows people to live at home while receiving treatment, so it is less disruptive than being in an inpatient setting. “They can be at home to get stabilized psychiatrically,” she said. Support groups are an important skill-building tool for participants and psychopharmacological and case management services are available in the program, which offers a variety of group modalities and uses the evidence-based curriculum of Behavioral Activation, which strives to reverse the increasing avoidance and isolation in which individuals facing depression or other mood disorders may tend to engage. An emphasis is placed on activities that have been shown to improve mood such as exercise, having goals, and improving relationships with others.
“We are planning on having a focus on health and wellness,” Fowler said. In fact, Bournewood has partnered with the Boston Bulldogs Runnings Club to sponsor its May 22 “5K Run for Recovery,” which will feature a tribute/vigil honoring those who have lost their lives to addiction and their loved ones.
Bournewood is also starting a non-profit which will write grants to help fund services that are not currently reimbursable by insurance, such as community health navigators and help for people to reintegrate in the work force, for example, that can wrap around medically reimbursable services and help prevent readmission, Fowler said. “We’d like to see the readmission rates reduced and we’d like to see more robust mental health services for individuals.”
At Bournewood, intake specialists are on duty 24/7, to take calls for referrals/admissions. “So if someone was admitted to an emergency department, the emergency department staff could call Bournewood and set up a meeting. Someone could be admitted to a partial program the next day.” That kind of quick response increases the likelihood an individual will access services, Fowler said.
By Pamela Berard