For your mind and body, integrated care is the best medicine

Recently, the Behavioral Health unit at Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore Hospital demonstrated the life-saving benefits of an integrated health care system.

After attempting suicide with carbon monoxide from the car in their garage, a patient was admitted to the behavioral health unit at Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore Hospital.  While this may be a familiar scenario to the behavioral health team, the fact that the patient had an Left Ventricular Assistive Device (LVAD) made it unusual.  Patients with this device are usually awaiting a heart transplant and may have other medical issues as well.

Caring for a patient with a ventricular assist device is a rarity on behavioral health units.  The team knew that the best place for the patient was on the behavioral health unit, but the nursing staff was unfamiliar with how to care for someone with that level of medical equipment.

This is where being at Aurora Health Care rather than any other organization makes a huge difference.  Because of dedicated caregivers and the willingness to have a positive patient outcome, two departments (the Cardiac Device Program at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center and the Behavioral Health team at Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore) coordinated the patient’s transfer and stay on behavioral health.  This included staff education to know how the ventricular assist device works, what is involved in the patient’s care, possible risks, and how to access resources in an emergency.

Behavioral health staff was receptive and willing to learn quickly and, together with the clinical engineer, assessed the device, the need for auxiliary power in case of a power outage, and its potential suicide risks for the patient and others on the unit.  The patient also was familiar with the clinical engineer and appeared somewhat less anxious, knowing that his care was being well coordinated and that he would be in good hands while on the behavioral health unit.

While the patient signed out the next day, he left knowing that the behavioral health team puts the patient first, always.

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options in a caring, confidential environment.  If you find you may be struggling with stress that is causing significant physical or emotional impairment in your lifecontact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.

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