CABARRUS COUNTY, NC (WBTV) – Improvements are on the horizon at Atrium Health Cabarrus that will improve its ability to serve patients with behavioral health issues.
According to a press release, the Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation and Atrium Health Cabarrus recently hosted a ribbon cutting to recognize and thank Cabarrus County for its support of the expansion of the existing behavioral health unit at the hospital.
In October 2021, the Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation announced a $3.5 million American Rescue Plan Act grant that will fund an expansion of the behavioral health detention unit outside the Atrium Health emergency room Cabarrus. This grant is the largest single donation the Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation has received since its inception and will have a significant impact on the hospital’s ability to provide quality care to the patient population with behavioral health problems in the community.
Atrium Health Cabarrus currently has an 8-bed, 2,024-square-foot Behavioral Health Detention Unit located within its Emergency Department (DE). This space, while functional, is limiting. Creating an expanded behavioral health detention unit outside the ED will remove these patients from the ED, provide them with specialized care, and allow the ED to function more efficiently. The current Behavioral Health Detention Unit will become ED patient rooms, allowing the hospital to expand its current care facilities.
The new and expanded behavioral health detention unit will be a 3,623 square foot space that will include 12-14 beds, a dedicated shower room, a telepsychology unit, and other behavioral health care needs.
Attendees at the November 15 event included representatives from hospital management, the Board of Trustees and county officials. Charlie Sastoque, president of the Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation, Asha Rodriguez, vice president and facility manager at Atrium Health Cabarrus, and County Commissioner Steve Morris each commented on the impact of this grant.
“Collaboration is the favorite word and to have this kind of opportunity and relationship with the hospital is amazing,” said Morris, who has been instrumental in supporting behavioral health initiatives for the community. “The issue of behavioral health and mental health touches every single family in the community at one time or another. When that happens, having the ability to deal with these situations is important.”
Noting that Atrium Health Cabarrus has been a partner of the county on many community topics, including mental health, Morris added, “We say thank you to Atrium Health Cabarrus for being here for us, allowing us to have these partnerships and collaborative relationships. We are excited about what this offers to our citizens of this community.”
During the event, Rodriguez shared the hospital’s gratitude for the grant and the benefits to its patients and community.
“The community is what makes this county grant the most special, and I say that because of how the county cares for our community,” he said. “This is evident by the way you hold all efforts together, regardless of belief systems; you all come together for what is best for this community and push each other to provide the best.
Emergency departments are a primary destination for people suffering from mental health or chemical dependency issues. Thus, Atrium Health Cabarrus has experienced a correlated increase in emergency room visits for mental and behavioral health issues, leading to an increase in the number of patients needing treatment in the behavioral health unit. Community mental health needs are under-resourced, and the emergency room is often the only place those experiencing a crisis can go. The new space will provide behavioral health patients with a space that will provide safety and support from trained behavioral health nurses and technicians.
While the hospital is the beneficiary of this gift, it is the community that will truly benefit from everyone working together.
County Commissioner Diane Honeycutt, along with her fellow commissioners, cut a ribbon for Atrium Health Cabarrus to begin construction on the behavioral health expansion. Each guest in attendance also signed a piece of drywall with their own personalized greetings to be included in the build.
For more information about the Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation, visit www.cabarrushealthcarefoundation.org or call 704-403-1369.
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