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Curry General honored by psychiatric association

Dr. Tom Dodson, of Oregon Psychiatric Association, presents award to Jan Kaplan, director of Curry County Health and Humane Services, and Tom Soule, Curry General Hospital director of nursing. The Pilot/Val Corley
GOLD BEACH – Curry General Hospital’s opening last October of a special holding room to hold people with mental issues for up to five days while their condition is stabilized, or it’s decided they need to be transferred to another facility, has earned the hospital the 2010 Oregon Psychiatric Association Access Award.

The award was presented to the hospital on Thursday by the association’s Dr. Tom Dodson of Portland, who came up with the idea for the award about three years ago.

“This award is to honor and acknowledge people who are doing good things in community access to mental health,” Dodson said before presenting the award.

Curry General was nominated for the award by Dr. Tom Welch.

“He is a psychiatrist in Portland who filled in down here for a while,” Dodson said, when the hospital was temporarily without a psychiatrist.

Director of Nursing Tom Soule accepted the award at the ceremony, attended by community leaders and representatives of the organizations involved in securing the holding room.

“We congratulate you and thank you on behalf of the Oregon Psychiatric Association for leading the incredible collaboration among professionals in your community to provide important service to patients,” Dr. Janice Veenhuizen, secretary of the Oregon Psychiatric Association, wrote in a letter to Bill McMillan, Curry Health Network CEO, in announcing the award.

“This award would not have been possible without the joint collaborative efforts of many individuals and agencies pursuing the development of a mental health hold room located at Curry General Hospital,” she wrote.

“The collaborative efforts resulted in written memorandums of understanding between Curry County Human Services, IPH Security Systems Inc., and Jefferson Behavioral Health as well as verbal agreements with local law enforcement agencies and ongoing communication with Columbia Care/Driftwood Lodge,” Veenhuizen wrote. “It is obvious that the groups of individuals involved in the collaborative effort are dedicated to improving patient access to mental health treatment in Oregon.”

The holding room, slightly larger than 80 square feet, is located directly across the hall from the hospital’s nursing station where it can be constantly monitored.

The difference between this room and other hospital rooms is that there is only a bed, eliminating anything that may cause injury, and the door locks. 

The hospital uses two types of holds for psychiatric patients – a 12-hour hold just to transfer someone to another hospital and a five-day hold to enable Curry County Human Services to investigate.

Soule, the nursing director, said the plan had been to have a tour of the room following the presentation, but the room was in use following the admission of a patient the night before.

In addition to a contract with Curry County Human Services, Curry General has a contract with Jefferson Behavioral Health (JBH), which funnels state money for mental health to five southwestern Oregon counties.

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