Hospital creates safe room for behavioral health patients

(Source: WNEM)

A Mid-Michigan hospital is taking extra steps to help those with mental illness.

The hospital is eliminating the hidden dangers from the rooms hundreds of patients are placed in.

The new specialized rooms for the patients come with a hefty price tag.

"That sink, we would not have that sink," said Jennifer Whyte, behavioral health program manager at McLaren-Bay Region. "We really want to just provide the safest environment for our patients while they're seeking treatment here."

She said so far this year the hospital has treated more than 500 patients with suicidal thoughts.

The standard emergency room is not a safe place for them to be. So Whyte has designed something to fix that.

"These things that we put into the safe rooms are very special and prevent any type of injuries to the patient," Whyte said.

The room won't have sharp objects of medical devices a patient could potentially use to hurt themselves.

Safe rooms are not allowed to have traditional picture frames, but the hospital wants to make sure it still feels like home so they came up with a creative idea to do just that.

Whyte said putting hand painted murals on the walls helps her patients during treatment, but those special additions come at a cost.

Cynthia Phares, Charity Ball organizer, said the room costs about $45,000.

Phares is helping raise some of that money. She organized a Charity Ball for McLaren every year since 1991. This year the money raised will go towards the new safe room.

"That's why I've been involved for so many years because you see so many great things that we're doing for the hospital and it's such needed equipment," Phares said.

Whyte said regardless of the expense, the new room will help save lives.

"This room will definitely be a key factor in providing a safe net that our patients need at our hospital," Whyte said.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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