Swedish opens 22-bed behavioral unit in Ballard

At the end of May, Swedish Medical Center in Ballard opened a new 22-bed behavioral health unit.

The cost of the new unit was just under $12 million and stemmed from a conversation about improving psychiatric care between Swedish, the Washington State Hospital Association and other member hospitals back in 2013.

“It quickly became evident there was a critical shortage of regional acute care beds to serve patients with both psychiatric and medical needs in a community hospital setting,” says Dr. Arpan Waghray, system medical director for behavioral health at Swedish.

According to Swedish, Washington state ranks near the lowest in the nation in terms of inpatient psychiatric capacity, which has left the state struggling to find enough beds for psychiatric patients.

Since psychiatric boarding – which is the practice of detaining patients with mental health problems without treatment because of limited psychiatric beds – was deemed against the law by Washington state Supreme Court, health systems have been starting to open new facilities and units around the state at a faster pace.

The new unit in our neighborhood will accept both voluntary and involuntary patients ages 18 and older and is located on the third and fourth floor of the Central Tower .

According to the Swedish team, the space was designed to better coordinate care for patients with two chronic illnesses simultaneously, “which will not only improve both medical and behavioral health outcomes, it will reduce the cost of care by decreasing repeat visits to the hospital,” according to their press release.

Swedish has also partnered with Sound Mental Health to ensure seamless care during an inpatient stay and community based stabilization period after discharge.

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