Residential program, care unit proposed
A small psychiatric intensive-care unit and a secure 22-bed residential program are among changes proposed at Hawaii State Hospital to deal with an excess of patients.
The state Department of Health is seeking about $3.4 million from the Legislature for the improvements, including:
» Reconfiguring existing beds for a four- or five-bed intensive-care unit for patients having difficulty in the general hospital environment.
"Generally, they are people who have demonstrated a risk for assaulting or other dangerous behavior," said Dr. Thomas Hester, chief of the Health Department's Adult Mental Health Division. The idea is to stabilize them while providing a less disruptive environment for other patients and staff, then return them to the general population when appropriate, he said.
» Conversion of four cottages on the grounds with 22 beds to provide a secure environment for patients ready to leave the hospital but not ready to move into a community setting.
A fence will be erected around the cottages, but they will have a homelike environment as a transition for patients to less secure placements, Hester said. The hospital will operate the cottages.
Care Hawaii, which had a specialized residential program in the cottages, will open up 16 new residential beds in the community, Hester said. "So there will be a net gain in beds and help with the census issue at the hospital."