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Unity Center provides support to Tuality’s mental health patients

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By Jeff Schilling | March 06, 2017 | Health Care

The new Unity Center for Behavioral Health, a 24-hour behavioral and mental health services center, now accepts mental health patients from Tuality’s Emergency Department. 

“Unity Care is a terrific resource for our mental health patients because we can send them to a team of mental health providers that specialize in behavioral and mental health emergencies,” said Peter Uluave, Administrative Nurse Manager.

Tuality Healthcare has been in need of a solution for mental health patients in the Emergency Department. The challenge is the ED is not staffed with psychiatric professionals (psychiatrist, psychologist, and specialized social workers) to handle holistic care needed in these specific cases.

When an ED patient is identified as a possible harm to themselves or others, they are assigned a specific room with a “sitter”. Sitters are required to monitor them on a 24-hour basis and keep them under close observation. The problem is the ED department doesn’t staff for sitters. That means anyone from a CNA, RN or Security staff maybe assigned to be a sitter. Psychiatric patients can consume scarce hospital resources and still not receive the desired care the longer they stay in the ED or become an inpatient.

With Unity Center now in operation, Tuality social worker and registered nurse case managers can champion placement of patients at their facility. They contact Unity Center and work with them to accept the patient. Uluave reported that this process is currently being implemented with successful transfers occurring.

Unity Center psychiatric hospital has 50 short-term spaces in their emergency services. They also have inpatient facilities with 80 adult beds, 22 adolescent beds and therapy rooms available for each patient. The center is a collaboration between Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Legacy Health, Kaiser Permanente and Adventist Health. 

“We have started a great relationship with Unity and I believe that being affiliated with OHSU has really helped us be part of that collective,” Uluave said.


About Tuality Healthcare

Tuality Healthcare, an OHSU Partner, is a leading healthcare provider in Washington County, serving a market area of 350,000 and growing. Tuality is a nonprofit, community-based organization with hospitals in Hillsboro and Forest Grove, and numerous physician and outpatient clinics.