Mercy to redesign behavioral health unit at hospital

By Kristin Rover
Sun staff

Officials with Mercy Health-Clermont Hospital announced plans to re-design the behavior health unit at the hospital during a press conference May 30. 

“Today is a big day for Mercy Clermont, the community, and the area we serve,” Jeff Graham, market leader and president of Mercy Health East Market, said about the announcement. 

Graham introduced Dr. Donna Markham, vice president of Behavioral Health Services for Catholic Health Partners, an organization that oversees 24 hospitals in Ohio, including Mercy Health-Clermont Hospital.

Markham said Catholic Health Partners is funding behavioral health re-design projects in seven different regions. 

“We are bringing all facilities up to contemporary standards,” Markham said. 

She said Mercy Health-Clermont Hospital will be the second hospital to undergo the re-design, which will cost around $4 million. 

“This will be the first one in southwest Ohio to be re-designed,” Markham said. “It will serve as a model.”

Markham said the decision to re-design behavioral health units at the hospitals was made after officials with Catholic Health Partners toured all behavioral health areas. 

“We realized we had work to do,” Markham said about the tours. “Behavioral health has been sort of a neglected step-child and we cannot neglect some of the most fragile people that walk among us.”

Markham said the facilities used for behavioral health were no longer conducive to the quality of care Catholic Health Partners needs to be providing. 

Markham said Catholic Health Partners will continue to work to update behavioral health units and also standardize behavioral health across the system.

“We want to be able to provide them with a beautiful, but safe, environment for care,” Markham said about behavioral health patients. 

Markham announced that ARRAY Architects will be designing the new behavioral health unit at Mercy Clermont.

Jon Sell, principal for planning and design with ARRAY, presented the firm’s plans for the project and discussed the company’s experience designing behavioral health facilities.

“When we design spaces we look at what is best for the patients and also the staff,” Sell said. “The trend in behavioral health is to go to a more open day space.”

Sell said for Mercy Clermont, they are planning a 25-bed unit with open day spaces and out patient services.

He said the open day spaces will be well lighted with pleasant decorations and even opportunities for socialization and exercise. 

“This is very different than the way you’re operating today,” Sell said. 

Sell said there will be multiple group and individual meeting rooms in the unit, and the unit will be designed for safety. 

“You have to think of everything from the floor to the ceiling,” Sell said. “We’re trying to make this very welcoming, and home-like.”

Sell showed guests drawings of what they are imagining for the unit, and also showed them photos from Mercy Regional Medical Center in Loraine, Ohio, which was the first hospital in the system to be re-designed.

He said they have already begun the planning and concept design process for Mercy Clermont. He said they plan to complete the design process in four to six months.

“We really need to get involved with the construction manager about a time frame,” Sell said.

Deborah Spradlin, director of behavioral health at Mercy Clermont, said having the behavioral health unit re-designed is a dream come true.

“This unit is my baby,” Spradlin said. “It is something I’ve been wanting to develop and now someone is coming in and funding it.”

Spradlin said she is excited to have the latest technology and the latest environment for behavioral health patients.

She said she is also excited that her great team can be even greater when in the new environment.

“The biggest thing is it will affect care for patients,” Spradlin said.