8 Reasons to Choose Geriatric Psychiatric Inpatient Treatment For Your Loved One

By Dana Groom, Recreational Therapist & Ashley Dixon, Social Worker

Your family member, Margaret, has started showing symptoms of depression. She hasn’t been sleeping or eating well. She has had significant weight loss. She no longer enjoys going to family activities and will often state, “I don’t feel like going anymore.” She has stopped doing activities she enjoys such as playing bingo, crocheting, and spending time in her garden. When you talked to her on the phone today, she stated “I feel like ending my life.” Who can help?

Southwest Health offers Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatry Care at Southwest Behavioral Services (SBS) in Platteville, Wisconsin. SBS Geriatric Inpatient Care is an acute unit with 10 beds that serves older adults, aged 55 and up.

Here are the top eight reasons to choose Southwest Behavioral Services Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatry Care for your loved one:

  1. A multidisciplinary team that specializes in caring for older adults will be working together to provide your loved one with thorough, coordinated care. Our team consists of a psychiatrist, physicians, nurses, social worker, a recreational therapist, and mental health technicians each trained in caring for and treating older adults. The staff works together to develop individualized treatment plans with special considerations for the older population.
  2. SBS allows patients the ability to relate to others similar in age. It can be more difficult for older adults to engage in group treatment with young adults, as they are experiencing different life events. Also, older adults many not feel as comfortable when grouped with younger adults when generational differences may be extreme. Group therapy is more dynamic when members are able to relate to one another.
  3. You can expect an environment designed for your loved one’s comfort and safety. This includes wide, carpeted hallways with railings that are easily maneuvered with an assistive device such as a walker or wheelchair if needed. Our hallways are also designed to be used safely for walking around and exercising.
  4. We treat diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, obsessive/compulsive behaviors, and combativeness or aggression. Your loved one can expect to be involved in group therapy with other individuals with similar experiences.
  5. Individuals will receive education and support in adjusting to life changes such as grief and loss, increased dependency needs, and adjusting to new roles in life that are common in older adults.
  6. SBS offers specialized programming the older population finds helpful and enjoyable. Our groups are intended to meet the needs and interests of people of all different backgrounds, and cognitive and physical abilities.  Group treatment is focused on various topics including: developing leisure interests, such as music and trivia from earlier eras, age appropriate arts and crafts, reminiscing tools, exercise groups designed to meet each individual’s needs and challenges, building self-esteem, illness education, coping skills education, providing relaxation techniques, stress management, and effective communication skills.
  7. Our staff is able to provide support and education for family members. We can provide education on diagnoses and medications as well as information on local support groups and community resources.
  8. Your loved one will receive specialized discharge planning. We are aware of local resources to meet the needs of older adults such as outpatient mental health follow up, memory clinic options, community support groups, caregiver support groups, and placement options. We want to help them have a positive, successful transition.

If Southwest Behavioral Services Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatry Care could be of assistance to you or your loved one, please contact (608) 348-3656 to learn more.

Watch a virtual tour of our facility on our website: www.southwesthealth.org/services/southwest-behavioral-services/


Dana Groom is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). She attended the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse and attained her Bachelor of Science and Health degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Dana has worked at Southwest Health’s Southwest Behavioral Services Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatry Care unit for about nine years. Dana facilitates six recreation therapy groups per day as well as provides one to one activities and leisure counseling as needed. Dana has experiences working with the geriatric population as well as children and adolescents.

Ashley Dixon, MSW, CAPSW, is a Social Worker at the Southwest Behavioral Services Geriatric Inpatient Unit. Ashley is an advanced practice social worker, trained as a generalist to provide quality mental health services to all age groups. She received her MSW from UW-Madison and her BSW from Clarke University. She currently provides individual and group therapy at the SBS inpatient geriatric psychiatry unit to provide coping skills, relaxation strategies, stress management, and effective communication skills. She has worked in a variety of social service settings, including child welfare, mental health, hospital settings, and geriatrics.  Additionally, she is trained in motivational interviewing.  Ashley uses strengths-based and family systems approaches to enhance sense of identity, self-esteem, confidence and help patients move forward.

Southwest Behavioral Services (SBS) is the mental health service line at Southwest Health. SBS has been part of Southwest Health since 1998 and has grown and developed around the community’s needs. SBS includes Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatry serving people 55 and older, Outpatient psychiatric care for people six and up including medication management and psychotherapy for those 13 and older, and Memory Diagnostic Clinic.  If you have questions about SBS or want to schedule an appointment please call (608)348-3656.


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