UPMC Hanover creates a calm and safe setting with new Behavioral Health Unit

At the beginning of 2023, UPMC Hanover opened its five-room specialized facility, which was 10 years in the making.

Written by:
Katie Elwell
Paid for by:
UPMC Hanover
In addition to providing essential care and support for patients, the Behavioral Health Unit at UPMC Hanover is helping to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health, says Unit Director of the Emergency Department Jenna Rembecki, RN. (Photo by Katie Elwell/Our York Media)

The UPMC Hanover Emergency Department (ED) used to be the only option for patients suffering a mental health or drug crises. The constant buzz of ambulances arriving, patients in physical distress, bright lights, and loud medical monitors often were triggering influences.

And each ED room used for a mental health crisis had to be stripped of sheets, equipment, and anything a patient might use to harm themselves.

When UPMC Hanover opened its Behavioral Health Unit in early 2023, the positive impact was immediate.

“It’s life-changing for the patient and families,” says one parent who has experienced the emergency room with a child facing a mental health crisis.

Patients in the UPMC Behavioral Health Units are carefully monitored by a team of dedicated mental health technicians and navigators who are specifically trained in and passionate about helping those in mental health crises. (Photo by Katie Elwell/Our York Media)

Designed with patients in mind

The idea for UPMC Behavioral Health Units was only beginning to form when Unit Director of the Emergency Department Jenna Rembecki, RN, began working at UPMC Hanover 12 years ago.

Over a decade, she watched UPMC hospitals throughout the region open their own units. Now she has oversight of UPMC Hanover’s unit.

The unit, accessed through the same hospital entrance as the Emergency Department, provides patients suffering a mental health crisis with the immediate care and support they need.

Five individual safe bedrooms are connected to a central, comfortable sitting room in a secure area just off the ED. Lights in the unit brighten and dim on a cycle tied to circadian rhythms, the natural cycle of physical, mental, and behavior changes that the body goes through in a 24-hour cycle. And the unit offers a quiet escape for social interaction with other patients and visitors.

Mental health crises can be overwhelming and frightening, and the staff at UPMC Hanover understands how important it is for patients to feel comfortable and secure during their time in the unit.

Patients are carefully monitored by a team of well trained, dedicated mental health providers, staff, and navigators who are passionate about helping those in need.

The team at UPMC Hanover works closely with each patient to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses specific needs and concerns. By taking a holistic approach to mental health care, UPMC Hanover helps patients achieve their best possible outcomes.

Jenna Rembecki, RN, says the new Behavioral Health Unit at UPMC Hanover is a vital resource for anyone who needs help during a mental health crisis. (Photo by Katie Elwell/Our York Media)

Breaking down the mental health stigma

In addition to providing essential care and support for patients, the Behavioral Health Unit is helping to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health.

“By raising awareness about the importance of mental health care and providing high-quality services to those in need, UPMC Hanover plays a crucial role in promoting mental health and wellness in the community,” says Rembecki.

The new Behavioral Health Unit at UPMC Hanover is a vital resource for anyone who needs help during a mental health crisis.

With its patient-centered approach, commitment to safety and support, and focus on promoting mental health awareness, UPMC Hanover is making a significant difference in the lives of its patients and in the community.

Learn more

UPMC Hanover offers a wide variety of services to our patients in order to deliver health care that is competent, caring, and convenient. Click here to learn more.

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