Hospital adding new senior care unit

Published 4:47 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chilton Medical Center is adding a new senior care unit to its facility.

Golden Care, which is expected to open in June, is a short-term program for people ages 65 and older who need specialized care and treatment plans.

“We will be a nine bed unit, all private rooms,” said Janet Driskell, Golden Care program director.

Driskell said the unit will accept admissions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and might accept patients 55-64 on a case-by-case basis with approval from a psychiatrist.

Patients must have a primary psychiatric diagnosis or specific behavioral issues in order to be admitted, Driskell said. Medical issues cannot be the primary focus of care.

Diagnoses for which patients could be accepted to Golden Care include dementia (Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s), depression, anxiety and emotional difficulties associated with aging.

“We would be able to evaluate them and their needs because a lot of these ailments are completely treatable,” Driskell said. “Ten to 12 days would be the normal length of stay for someone in our unit. This is a safe place to bring your family member, locally, to get the help that they may need to remain independent.”

Driskell said the unit is primarily a Medicare based program, but other insurances will be considered.

The unit will offer patients various services such as individual, group, recreational and family therapies, as well as living skills groups and medication management.

“The reason that something like this is needed in this community is that between 8 and 15 percent of community dwelling persons suffer from depression, and 30 percent of institutionalized elderly (people) suffer from depression,” Driskell said. “A lot of times, depression gets mistaken for dementia.”

Driskell said she is currently taking applications for positions on the Golden Care staff.

For more information or to apply, call (205) 755-2500.