A 24-bed inpatient behavioral health unit is now open and serving patients at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

Behavioral health unit opens at Beach hospital

24 beds now open and serving patients at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital

Svbgh

A 24-bed inpatient behavioral health unit is now open and serving patients at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. The unit includes 16 beds designated for geriatric patients and eight general adult beds.

“These new inpatient beds will greatly improve access to care for patients in Virginia Beach,” said Frank Gallagher, vice president for behavioral health services for Sentara Healthcare. “They should reduce the amount of time that patients spend in the emergency department waiting for a bed.”

The number of patients seeking psychiatric services through the ED at Sentara Virginia Beach General has increased 111 percent since 2006, with notable increases in recent years.

  • 2010: 1802 patients
  • 2011: 2118 patients
  • 2012: 2359 patients
  • 2013: 2522 patients (projected)

“Psychiatric patients waiting for a bed for days in the emergency department often deteriorate,” says Matt Angelelli, M.D., a psychiatrist and medical director for the inpatient unit at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. 

“The ED also has to commit a staff person to each patient to ensure their safety,” Angelelli continues. “It’s hard on patients and staff and these new beds should help us speed up admissions and improve care.”

A multidisciplinary behavioral health task force has been working across the Sentara system for more than a year.