To improve the experience of our patients and provide optimal care, Christiana Care Health System has replaced its inpatient Behavioral Health Unit at Wilmington Hospital with a new, expanded facility that provides state-of-the-art medical and behavioral health care.

Vishesh Agarwal, MBBS, Christiana Care Chief Operating Officer Sharon Kurfuerst, EdD, OTR/L, FACHE, FAOTA, FABC, Linda Lang, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry, and Steven Ismael Beltran, BSN, RN-BC, nurse manager.

“The new inpatient Behavioral Health Unit at Wilmington Hospital reflects the Christiana Care Way of serving our neighbors as expert, caring partners,” said Chief Operating Officer Sharon Kurfuerst, Ed.D., OTR/L, FACHE. “We wanted to create an environment that demonstrates to both our patients and their loved ones that we will provide the very best care. Our upgraded unit incorporates the latest advances in inpatient behavioral health.”

The 21,000-square-foot unit — more than double the size of the old space — is outfitted in warm earth tones. There are natural wood accents and plenty of natural light. All the rooms in the unit are comfortable and have a residential atmosphere.

The layout of the unit and the materials have all been carefully selected to create a state-of-the-art behavioral health space.

“We’ve greatly enhanced the therapeutic environment and the programs that we provide,” said Linda Lang, M.D., chair of Department of Psychiatry and medical director of the Behavioral Health Service Line at Christiana Care. “The layout of the unit and the materials have all been carefully selected to create a state-of-the-art behavioral health space. We’ve created areas with a focus on specific populations.”

Highlights include:

  • Four pods to address specific needs: geriatric behavioral health issues, acute behavioral health issues, a dual diagnosis of behavioral health and substance use disorder and behavioral health/medical issues. Each pod has self-contained programming and a dedicated nursing station.
  • Additional staff hired to provide care to the expanded patient population.
  • An overall increase in bed capacity from 24 to 30 beds.
  • Safety design features recommended in the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Patient Safety Standards, Materials and Systems Guidelines, which were created to reduce the risk of harm to individuals in inpatient behavioral health hospital settings.
  • Increased treatment space for group therapy, education and private one-on-one treatments, all of which share a pleasant, positive environment overlooking the Brandywine River.
  • Two patient dining rooms.
  • Visitor reception area and lockers for patients, family and friends to store belongings.

The new Behavioral Health Unit is in space formerly occupied by surgical operating rooms that moved to the Carol A. Ammon South Tower. The vacant area allowed Christiana Care to renovate without the need to close the unit temporarily.

The Behavioral Health Unit offers short-term care. The average length of stay is five to seven days. Admission is voluntary.

The redesigned unit is another example of Christiana Care’s mission to bring quality behavioral health services to the community. Others include the nationally recognized Project Engage, an early intervention and referral program designed to help hospital patients who may be struggling with alcohol or drug use; the rollout of opioid prescription guidelines; a community Substance Overdose Support (SOS) program; a suicide risk screening program; and the successful addition of embedded behavioral health consultants to Christiana Care’s primary care practices.