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Dr. Gary Figiel Discusses Geriatric Care & What Makes Ridgeview Institute Unique

September 03, 2019

Geriatric Care: What Makes Ridgeview Institute Unique

Older adult mental health often goes undiagnosed because it is often– mistakenly– considered a normal part of aging. At Ridgeview Institute, we strive to provide comprehensive psychiatric evaluations and inpatient care for adults aged 55 and over experiencing cognitive, behavioral and psychiatric disorders.

Established in 1999, the Senior Adult Psychiatric Program at Ridgeview Institute Smyrna is designed to provide safety, beauty, and comfort to patients while accommodating the unique needs of senior adults, including those with physical limitations who may need more assistance.

In a recent interview, Dr. Gary Figiel, the medical director of the geriatric program talks about the elements that distinguish the Ridgeview Institute campuses apart from other behavioral health facilities.

Ridgeview Institute provides around the clock nursing care, medication management, group therapy, family therapy, activity therapy, and educational groups. Our team of internists and nurse practitioners work tirelessly 7 days a week to ensure that our weekend coverage is the same as weekdays.

Many patients that come in with cognitive and behavioral problems are vulnerable and need as much hand-holding as possible, even though they might not ask for it. We understand that, which is why our units are intended to cater to every need a patient might have. We critically analyze every patient’s behavior so that we can understand the severity of their mental health disorder, and how to best approach treatment.

Many mental health hospitals that provide inpatient care or outpatient services for the elderly are not equipped with the responsibility that comes with catering to its patient. Often the rooms don’t provide patients the special assistance they need, or their walkers get lost in the hallways which can further lead to anxiety, isolation and sleep issues.

At Ridgeview, we aim to provide not just physical well-being but also holistic mental health care.

Our mental health facilities are designed to reduce the limitations that our patients might face now or in the future. This approach has helped reduce behavioral agitation, which in turn minimizes the need for medication. Our staff is trying to usher in a new era of geriatric care that branches-out to ensure we cover the complete spectrum of mental illness and provide standard yet personalized behavioral healthcare to everyone.

Our goal for the future is to create three distinct mental health treatment tracks to address the specific psychological and developmental needs of this age group with a model of wellness, life balance, and enrichment.

Our first treatment plan is for high functioning cognitive individuals that have mild cognitive problems or for patients coming in for mood disorders such as depression or anxiety disorder.

Our second subdivision is for patients experiencing significant cognitive challenges that may require more structure, direction, and assistance due to Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive impairment, delirium, psychosis or other mental health conditions.

Our third and last category is for patients who require a higher level of inpatient care due to their medical problems. We provide extensive care and are there should patients need help bathing or dressing

All of these treatment plans are created and implemented by professional teams that work closely with each patient to set realistic goals for treatment and to develop a continuing care plan to ensure that their ongoing needs are met.

For the full interview with Dr. Gary Figiel, please view it in full on our YouTube channel.