Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation and Atrium Health Cabarrus begin construction on expansion of behavioral health holding unit
CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Improvements are on the horizon at Atrium Health Cabarrus that will improve its ability to serve behavioral health patients.
According to a news release, the Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation and Atrium Health Cabarrus recently hosted a ribbon cutting to recognize and thank Cabarrus County for its support to expand the current behavioral health holding unit at the hospital.
In October 2021, the Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation announced a $3.5 million American Rescue Plan Act grant that will fund an expansion of the behavioral health holding unit outside of the emergency department at Atrium Health Cabarrus. This grant is the largest single gift that the Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation has received since its inception and will have significant impact on the hospital’s ability to provide quality care to the behavioral health patient population in the community.
Atrium Health Cabarrus currently has an 8-bed, 2,024 square-foot behavioral health holding unit located within its emergency department (ED). This space, while functional, is limiting. Creating an expanded behavioral health holding unit outside the ED will divert these patients from the ED, provide them with specialized care and allow the ED to function more efficiently. The current behavioral health holding unit will become ED patient rooms, allowing the hospital to expand its current care facilities.
The new and expanded behavioral health holding unit will be a 3,623 square-foot space encompassing 12 – 14 beds, a dedicated shower, a telepsych unit and other behavioral health care needs.
Attendees at the Nov. 15 event included representatives from hospital leadership, the foundation board and county officials. Charlie Sastoque, president of Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation, Asha Rodriguez, vice president and facility executive at Atrium Health Cabarrus and County Commissioner Steve Morris each gave remarks recognizing the impact of this grant.
“Collaboration is a favorite word and to have this type of opportunity and relationship with the hospital is tremendous, said Morris, who has been instrumental in supporting behavioral health initiatives for the community. “The issue of behavioral health and mental health touches every single family in the community at one time or another. When it happens, having the facility to deal with these situations is important.”
Noting Atrium Health Cabarrus has been a partner with the county on many topics for the community, including mental health, Morris added “we say thank you to Atrium Health Cabarrus for being here for us, allowing us to have these partnerships and collaborative relationships. We are excited about what this offers our citizens of this community.”
During the event, Rodriguez shared the hospital’s gratitude for the grant and how it will benefit its patients and the community.
“The community is what makes this grant from the county the most special, and I say that by how the county takes care of our own community,” she said. “That’s evident by the way you all support endeavors together, regardless of belief systems; you all come together for what’s best for this community and push each other to provide the best.”
Emergency departments are a primary destination for people experiencing mental health or chemical dependency problems. As such, Atrium Health Cabarrus has seen a related increase in ED visits for mental and behavioral health concerns, leading to an increase in the number of patients requiring care in the behavioral health holding unit. The mental health needs of the community are under-resourced, and the emergency department is often the only place those experiencing crisis can go. The new space will provide behavioral health patients a space that will provide safety and support from trained behavioral health nurses and techs.
While the hospital is the beneficiary of this gift, it is the community that will truly benefit from everyone working together.
County Commissioner Diane Honeycutt, along with her fellow commissioners, cut a ribbon for Atrium Health Cabarrus to begin construction on the expansion for behavioral health. Each guest in attendance also signed a piece of sheet rock with their personalized best wishes to be included in the construction.
For more information on the Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation visit www.cabarrushealthcarefoundation.org or call 704-403-1369.
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