Philadelphia-based Friends Hospital has opened a 24-bed inpatient, acute care psychiatric unit based upon the principles of the "recovery model."
Under the recovery model, patients are assisted in re-forging ties with their community and families, as well as developing new hobbies and pursuits. They are counseled through peer-support specialists who have been through the process successfully. Friends Hospital's recovery-oriented unit is the first such unit in Philadelphia.
"It is so focused on the person's experience that it really allows us as a treatment team to make it the best experience for people in a difficult time," says Friends Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ken Glass, PhD. "It is growing nationally in recognition that recovery oriented approach produces better outcomes for people, particularly in the area of going back into hospitals in a short period of time."
Friends Hospital decided to develop the new unit after gathering feedback from former patients, thinkers in the field, stakeholders in the city of Philadelphia, its own staff, and literature on the recovery model.
Glass says the unit really was a new start "from top to bottom," and Friends closed one of its units for about six weeks as the new recovery unit was developed. One big change was the space was completely redesigned so it had more of an "at home" feel, Glass says.
"We took all this information and crafted what we believed a successful recovery oriented inpatient unit would look like," Glass says.
Upon admission to the new unit, each individual will be assessed to determine whether or not the recovery unit is suitable for his or her treatment. In the program, each patient will have individualized treatment catered to the individual's strengths and needs.
Friends Hospital staff will then create a collaborative, working relationship with each patient to identify goals to help them reach a successful recovery. The ultimate goal is for each patient to leave with a "new life plan" that incorporates a more individualistic approach to treatment that includes aspects such as their own support systems, hobbies, strengths, community connections, and goals.
"We're trying to marry our desire to both improve our patients' experience with some evidence out there of what approaches are effective," Glass says. "It really does give us a better picture of that person than a traditional psychiatric approach. What we consider it is really speaking to a person as a whole, and not simply their symptoms."