The team at Liberty HealthCare Systems Adolescent Behavioral Hospital is working to improve and grow the therapeutic environment for both patients and their families.
“We're very excited about the changes we've made so far,” said Dawne Walsworth, one of four partners with West Monroe-based TDPK LLC, which took over operations of the hospital in March.
The Liberty campus, on Eugene Ware Boulevard in Bastrop, is a 60-bed facility that provides in-patient psychiatric care, counseling and other services for children and teenagers who suffer from mental illnesses or addictive disorders. The hospital currently has 20-25 admissions per week, with patients coming from throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
The changing of hands represents an approximately $7.5 million investment in Morehouse Parish. The partnership has changed the hospital's staffing matrix, hiring 15 new employees, and opened the facility's second dorm so that all 60 licensed beds can be used, reducing the number of young people on the waiting list.
“We've also done some extensive landscaping outside,” said Walsworth. “We'd love to put a soccer field or something [on the grounds].”
Walsworth said the hospital is partnering with Grambling State University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe counseling and nursing departments, to enable students to work as paid interns at Liberty. They're also working with the First Baptist Church of West Monroe Counseling Center toward providing aftercare services in the future.
The hospital campus includes outpatient services for senior citizens and adults who need assistance with life issues, behavioral or mental health concerns. The outpatient program includes counseling, group therapy, and other services for adults who may be referred by their doctors or families.
“This is a wonderful program for senior citizens, and for people who just need to get out and be with other people,” said Nurse Director Becky Parks.
Walsworth said the hospital's new medical director and psychiatrist, Dr. Horatio Millin MD, is “probably our biggest change. [The hospital] didn't have a full-time psychiatrist on staff, and that's something we really wanted.”
Walsworth said they would like to add a substance abuse clinic or program to the facility in the future to treat adolescent patients whose behavioral problems stem from, or have been exacerbated by, substance abuse.
“We are looking at growing,” she said. “Dr. Millin will help us to assess the needs in the area.”
Millin said his role as the new medical director includes working to improving the hospital's efficiency and consistency.
“There is some patient care involved, to be sure,” he said. “Overall, [the medical director] oversees the efficient operation of the facility. We're looking at how we can change the infrastructure, to provide a more wholesome environment not only for adolescents, but for their families – by default, we are also treating families.”
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Millin said the recruitment of young staff is important, as is looking for ways to streamline services and interfacing with other mental health agencies. The mental health care of young people is vital, he said, because problems in adolescence can become larger in adulthood.
“We're looking to improve the quality of the services we provide, to improve the therapeutic environment, and to recruit young talent to provide clinical services to this age group,” he said.
Learn more about Liberty HealthCare's services at www.libertybh.com.