Merit Health Wesley offers new Senior Behavioral Health services to area

(The following is a press release from Merit Health Wesley.  For more on May 19th's interview with Michael Caputo, Interim Director of Merit Health Wesley's Senior Behavioral Health Unit, visit or call 601-268-8029.)

Hattiesburg -- Merit Health Wesley recently opened a new Senior Behavioral Health Unit and now offers inpatient senior behavioral health services to the community.

Many factors can affect an older person's emotional well-being, including lifestyle changes, failing health, loss of a loved one and multiple medications. The complex combination of medical and psychiatric issues can make a diagnosis and treatment challenging. At Merit Health Wesley, each senior behavioral health patient will receive a thorough assessment of both physical and mental health, providing individualized care in a warm, supportive atmosphere. 
"The unit is designed down to the smallest details with this specific audience in mind," said Phebe McKay, Chief Nursing Officer. "With each design decision, we have taken great care to create an environment that is inviting and nurturing, while using the latest state-of-the-art equipment and features to enhance patient safety."

Safety features can be found throughout the unit, and the hospital's senior behavioral health team is trained in providing care to a senior audience with behavioral or emotional issues. The team is comprised of psychiatrists, physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, recreation therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and dieticians who specialize in caring for seniors.

"We have always worked to provide our community with specialized, quality services to benefit the wide range of healthcare needs in the Pine Belt," said Mike Neuendorf, Chief Executive Officer. "There is a large senior population who needs both emotional and physical healing. We're happy to be able to offer these services to those patients and to the families who care for them."

While every treatment plan will differ to cater specifically to each patient's needs, patients and their family members can expect all treatment plans to include 24-hour monitoring and supervision, diagnostic assessment and evaluation, one-on-one visits with a psychiatrist, stabilizing and managing medications, group therapy, managing secondary medical needs, patient and family education, assisting with discharge and aftercare planning, and one-on-one visits with a therapist.

Referrals from physicians, psychologists, mental health professionals, social workers, social service agencies, hospital emergency departments, family members, friends and self-referrals are accepted. For more information, visit or call 601-268-8029.