Summa Health’s new behavioral health facility will soon welcome its first patients.
The Juventus Family Behavioral Health Wing, a seven-story building on the Akron City Hospital campus at 45 Arc Street, will standardize care and replace inpatient and outpatient mental and behavioral health services at St. Thomas Hospital, near downtown Akron. .
The first patients from St. Thomas will be transferred to the new facility on January 24 with the move completed by January 25. Construction took 20 months to complete.
more:The fate of St Thomas’ Hospital is unclear as the new Summa Behavioral Health building takes shape
said Dr. Joseph Farley, chief of health at Summa Psychiatry.
“It was a bold move by this organization to put this building here,” he said. “It really gives the message that behavioral health and mental health matter and it’s part of this system’s commitment to helping people.”
Summa is hosting a free community open house from 11am-3pm on Saturday, January 14th. The event will include tours of the facility. Free parking can be found on one of the hospital’s nearby parking floors.
The 159,000-square-foot facility is a total investment of $84 million by the Akron-based health system. This includes about $64 million in new construction costs. It stands on the site of the former School of Nursing, which has not been used for several years.
The new building will house the outpatient and inpatient programs. It includes mental health services such as outpatient psychiatry, inpatient behavioral health, inpatient seniors behavioral health and trauma stress center.
There will also be addiction treatment services, including partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programmes. The hospital detox services will be located across the bridge in the main hospital.
more:What is the difference between a gambling enthusiast and an addict? Advice from an expert
The first floor contains outpatient offices, a conference center, a non-denominational religious center, and the Heritage Center, which is a nod to the history of St. Thomas.
The second floor houses offices and outpatient services. The third floor is now open and floors four through seven provide 64 private inpatient beds.
Farley said St. Thomas has 69 behavioral health beds in semi-private rooms. But sometimes beds are not used to give some patients privacy.
He said because the new facility provides all private rooms, there will be an opportunity to provide care to more patients.
more:Summa Health receives a gift of $10 million from Sharon and Richard Juventus
There is a dedicated senior floor for older patients who often have issues with depression, anxiety and cognitive concerns.
In addition, the dual diagnosis unit will treat patients with addiction difficulties as well as mental health issues. Farley said two public units of adults would allow caregivers to group patients based on their ability to engage and participate in care.
Date recognized in new facility
The Heritage Centre, located on the ground floor, is dedicated to preserving the history of St Thomas’ Hospital and especially its relationship to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous.
St. Thomas was home to the nation’s first hospital unit for the treatment of alcoholism. The unit—named Ignatia Hall—was founded in 1939 by Sister M.
“It’s very much meant to acknowledge that this is our history and the history of St. Thomas,” said Farley of the Heritage Center in the new building.
more:‘Honoring the Legacy’: Summa of the closure of St Thomas’ Church with ties to AA, the transfer of several items
Two stained-glass windows from the chapel, titled “Visiting the Sick” and “To Feed the Hungry”, were removed from the chapel at St Thomas’ Hospital, restored and installed in the Heritage Center on the ground floor of the new centre.
Four glass display cases filled with mementos of Sister Ignatia and Dr. Pope were also moved to the new Essences Center.
Much of the rest of the church was gifted Saint Vincent Saint Mary’s High School, Including the Italian marble altar, stations of the cross, and remaining stained glass windows, statues, and pews.
The new Summa building has private rooms
The new facility was designed from the ground up with behavioral health care in mind, Farley said.
“It’s really state-of-the-art. There are private rooms and the layout was designed with our goal in mind.” So the sightlines are very clear and our nursing center is very centrally located in a way that allows for visibility and there’s an openness but there’s privacy in the open spaces. Patients to congregate as well as quiet places.”
Some patient rooms on higher floors offer sweeping views of downtown Akron.
“For me, I think it is fitting that we offer the best part of this building — the top four floors — to those who suffer the most and need the greatest support and participation,” Farley said.
In February 2022, Summa designated 12 beds in the Akron City Hospital Emergency Department for behavioral health patients. Farley said that with the addition of the new behavioral health ward, these patients could be moved directly from the emergency department through the back corridors, if needed.
A secure area off the pedestrian bridge from the 55th Street Arch parking deck provides visitors with an area to check in before being escorted to see patients. Likewise, there is a secure patient registration area.
Farley said the new facility offers separate areas for visitors on each floor for inpatients. He said this is an improvement from the current setup in St. Thomas, where elevators open directly into units, making it difficult to separate patients and their visitors from the rest of the patients.
Safety is a priority
Farley said great care was taken to provide safety for patients and caregivers. Any items that could be used to link or bind have been removed from rooms. Bathrooms are designed to provide privacy, but without doors for security.
All windows on inpatient floors are specifically designed to withstand 2,000 pounds of force for added safety, said Ed Friedel, vice president of construction and property management.
Friedel said that having an employee badge is necessary to enter and exit units and offices, to get on the elevator, or to enter different floors.
“If we create a safe and secure space and everyone knows it, it increases the safety and security of everyone,” Farley said. “If there are significant gaps or weaknesses in terms of safety, you will invite people who are inclined to test that or go ahead and do something they might not otherwise do.” If they know it’s safe.
“Creating a safe environment is actually a way of respecting patients and ultimately creating a safer place for everyone.”
Work with community partners
Farley said Summa works with community partners who also provide behavioral health services and will continue to do so.
The health system recently entered into a contract with behavioral health of the transmission pathway, who runs his own emergency psychiatric services care center near St. Thomas, Farley said. Portage Path will provide some behavioral health and assessment services as part of the emergency department at Akron City Hospital “in an effort to increase integration and work collaboratively in the crisis space.”
Summa also works through software that supports it Summit County Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services Board Have community partner coordinators such as Portage Path Behavioral Health and Community support services Come to the Summa inpatient units for clip coordination.
“So we’re looking for ways to effectively connect our organizations and bring them into a more clinical outreach format,” Farley said. “This module will just make it easier to do that.”
Assist in achieving statewide goals
Farley said the new behavioral health facility will help provide mental health care to more patients. That was the goal of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who recently announced an additional $175 million to expand mental health infrastructure and develop the workplace.
Although abstracts paid for the new facility, “what we’re doing here is very complementary to the general mental health system and comprehensive behavioral health support,” Farley said.
Mental health care is a top priority:Governor Mike DeWine is sworn in for a second term. What can Ohio expect?
“The fact that we’ve built this building on the main campus to integrate what we do with the rest of the medical services we provide is a bold statement of this organization’s commitment to the whole person,” he said.
What will happen to St. Thomas Hospital?
The future of the nearly 100-year-old St. Thomas Building on North Main Street remains unknown. After moving mental and behavioral health operations to the new facility and moving the Health System’s Wound Center to a new facility on East Market Street, there are still tenants. Those two tenants, Abstracts Doctor and Institute International, will move out by the end of January, Friedel said.
Salvation continues to search for a purpose or new owner for the facility, Friedel said, but if no one can be found, there is a possibility the building could be razed to the ground. He said that won’t happen until the second or third quarter of 2024.
Beacon Journal reporter Betty Lynn Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or firstname.lastname@example.org.