SwedishAmerican’s Board of Directors approved the expansion of the child/adolescent behavioral health program within SwedishAmerican’s Center for Mental Health (CFMH) unit. The additional beds will increase the unit’s total beds from 32 to 42, which will allow SwedishAmerican to create a new 16-bed Child and Adolescent unit to help ease a severe shortage of inpatient psychiatric care for children in the Rock River Valley. The unit will care for children ages 5-17 years of age.
SwedishAmerican will be the only hospital in Rockford to offer child psychiatric beds. The last local facility to treat pediatric psychiatric inpatients was Singer Mental Health Center, which closed in 2012.
“The need is great for these additional beds to improve access to inpatient pediatric mental health care in the Rockford region,” says Ann Gantzer, vice president of health and patient services at SwedishAmerican. “The closest mental health center to treat children is more than 50 miles away in Streamwood. The expanded number of beds at SwedishAmerican will reduce the need to divert and transfer patients to other facilities outside of our region.”
Part of the CFMH, currently located on the fourth floor of the hospital, would be renovated to accommodate the proposed new Child and Adolescent unit, which will cost approximately $2 million.
Over the past two years, 73 children between the ages of five- and 11-years-old in need of psychiatric hospitalization were transferred from SwedishAmerican’s Emergency Department (ED), resulting in 130 referrals. All of them had to be sent to other mental health centers throughout the state to find an available bed.