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June 27, 2103 Volume 34, No. 32

Renovation of psychiatric center offers updated, expanded youth care


The new unit represents the final phase of center renovations

MU Health Care celebrated on May 8 the opening of a $1.9 million renovated youth unit at the Missouri Psychiatric Center at Three Hospital Drive. The 7,800 square-foot inpatient unit on the center’s third floor provides expanded facilities for behavioral health treatment of patients 5 to 18 years old.

“During recent years, we have seen a significant and growing need for psychiatric services in our mid-Missouri region, across our state and throughout our country,” said Laine Young-Walker, director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “Serious mental health conditions affect approximately 10 percent of American children. Because this is the only inpatient psychiatric facility for children within a 90-mile radius of Columbia, every bed in this new unit is vitally important. With a total of 17 beds, including three additional beds, we will be able to help many children in central Missouri.”

The Missouri Youth Psychiatric Services unit is separated into two sections: an adolescent section with 11 beds and a pre-adolescent section with six beds. The unit also has two new quiet rooms near the nurses’ station, where patients can have time alone while being monitored by staff; an attached visitation room for parents to see their children, apart from the rest of the unit; and design features to provide a comfortable environment, reducing noise and letting in natural light.

“This renovated unit will offer an improved healing atmosphere for our patients, as well as creating additional capacity to care for more Missouri youth,” said John Lauriello, medical director of the Missouri Psychiatric Center and Chancellor’s Chair of Excellence in Psychiatry at the MU School of Medicine. 

The Missouri Youth Psychiatric Services team includes two child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, clinical psychologists, special education teachers, occupational and recreation therapists, and social workers. 

They employ treatments such as dialectical behavior therapy, a form of evidence-based psychological therapy designed to help patients manage their emotions and react positively to their environment.

“With the help of their parents and the Missouri Psychiatric Center’s child and adolescent clinic, the majority of our patients are able to manage their symptoms through outpatient treatment in regular clinic visits,” Young-Walker said. 

“For patients who need immediate, intensive treatment, however, this inpatient unit provides comprehensive evaluation and therapy before transitioning them to outpatient treatment.”

The new third-floor unit is the final phase of renovations to the 62-bed Missouri Psychiatric Center, which began in 2009. Renovations to the youth services unit began in September 2012.

Since MU Health Care opened the center in 2009 to preserve and expand regional mental health services after the state closed Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center, approximately 50,000 square feet of the 99,550 square-foot facility has been renovated at a cost of approximately $13.8 million. Of that figure, $13 million was provided by the state of Missouri. 

— Colin Planalp