Shore Behavioral Health Kicks-off Expansion: Renovation of DGH Facilities Will Increase Space, Enhance Program

A wall breaking ceremony was held Tuesday, September 13 at Dorchester General Hospital to kick off a major renovation project that will expand and improve the size and scope of behavioral health services on the Mid-Shore. The $2.5 million dollar renovation of Shore Behavioral Health’s existing unit increases the number of beds from 16 to 24 and enhances the facility’s ability to meet the needs of patients who have mental health and substance abuse issues.

“The upgrades to this unit address a pressing community need left unfilled due to the closure of state hospitals, bed reductions in existing hospitals and loss of community clinic resources,” said Yusuke Sagawa, MD, psychiatrist with Shore Behavioral Health Services. “This expansion allows us to provide a more thorough and efficient course of care for patients with a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness, which will ultimately yield better long term outcomes for these patients and their families.”

Ruth Ann Jones, EdD, MSN, RN, Director of Acute Care for Shore Health System, added, “Seventy percent or more of mental health patients who come to the hospital through the emergency departments have both substance abuse or use and mental health needs. This is especially true of the growing homeless population.”

Increasing the space available for inpatient beds will allow Shore Behavioral Health Services to more effectively treat both psychiatric conditions as well as substance abuse disorders. The renovations, funded partially by a $1 million dollar grant from the State of Maryland, also include upgrades to patient bath, shower and toilet facilities as well as storage and laundry improvements. Upgrades to treatment and meeting rooms along with renovations to staff offices and lounges are also part of the project.

In addition to the $1 million dollar grant from the state, community fundraising initiatives have already raised $60,000 for the project. Richard Loeffler, vice chair of the Shore Health System board of directors, recognized the Dorchester General Hospital Foundation and the guests and sponsors who attended the 2010 Starry Night dinner dance, which benefited the behavioral health project.

“This investment by Shore Health System and the State of Maryland demonstrates that Dorchester General Hospital continues to be a valued community healthcare resource,” said Jerry Walsh, Interim CEO, Shore Health System. “The completion of this important renovation will only make it better for patients on the Mid-Shore and beyond.”

Construction will take place in phases and behavioral health inpatient and outpatient services will continue without interruption through all phases of the project. Over 30 guests attended the wall-breaking event, including Shore Health System staff, elected officials, community supporters, and representatives from Marshall Craft Associates and Whiting-Turner, the project’s architect and construction contractor.

In photo: Jackie Weston, BSN, RN-BC, Nurse Manager for Shore Behavioral Health Services, made the first hole in the wall during the September 13 wall breaking ceremony that marked the beginning of a sic- to nine-month construction project that will expand and renovate the behavioral health unit at Dorchester General Hospital.

Psychiatrist Yusuke Sagawa, MD, (at the podium) commented on how patients and their families will benefit from renovations underway in the behavioral health unit at Dorchester General Hospital. Pictured with Dr. Sagawa are (left to right) Jackie Weston, BSN, RN-BC, Nurse Manager for Shore Behavioral Health Services; Jerry Walsh, Interim CEO, Shore Health System; Sen. Richard Colburn; and Roger Harrell, Health Officer, Dorchester County Health Department.

Pictured with Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio (seated) at the wall breaking ceremony at Dorchester General Hospital, Del. Addie Eckardt said, “Shore Health System has always stepped up to the plate. Behavioral health is very complex and needs a multi-faceted intervention. Many of the citizens you serve are not able to say thank you – they struggle for acceptance and understanding. So I thank you for the services you provide.”