June 25, 2010

New leaders, renovations enhance Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital

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Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital leaders, from left, Harsh Trivedi, M.D., Avni Cirpili, M.S.N., R.N., and William Parsons Jr., Ph.D. (photo by Anne Rayner)

New leaders, renovations enhance Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital

There’s a new energy at the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital as it welcomes two new leaders ready to boost the hospital’s reputation both in the Nashville community and nationally and undergoes a comprehensive facelift.

Harsh Trivedi, M.D., Executive Medical Director and chief of staff, was recruited from Brown University to lead VPH in becoming the place for psychiatric care in the South. Trivedi, who is the consulting editor of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, is joined by Chief Nursing Officer Avni Cirpili, M.S.N., R.N., who came to VPH from Ohio State University’s Harding Hospital.

“The reason why this particular team has been put into place by Dr. (Stephan) Heckers (chair of the Department of Psychiatry) is because there is a vision that we should be the premier psychiatric hospital in the South as an initial goal, and one of the premier psychiatric hospitals in the country as a future goal,” Trivedi said.

“It’s a very exciting time – the improvements to the physical plant, changes in how we provide patient care on a day-to day basis, and the type of specialty services we provide will bring forth transformative changes.”

Trivedi said the Psychiatry faculty and staff are incorporating personalized medicine and evidence-based medicine into the department, focusing on individual patients and how they might respond to treatment, and by taking the research that is already occurring and linking it to the clinical care provided.

“There is also a strong focus on strengthening the programs already in place and adding some new programs so that we can provide seamless care throughout the treatment continuum,” Trivedi said.

A three-year renovation project has already begun as the hospital’s lobby, information area and main corridors get new furniture, wall treatments and flooring.

“For many years when people in this area have needed excellent psychiatric care, they’ve left Tennessee,” said William Parsons, Ph.D., the hospital’s Chief Administrator. “We want Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital to be the place where you can access world-class psychiatric care. We want to provide excellent patient-centered care to our patients while meeting the needs of the family and the community.”

Increasing the hospital’s visibility in the community is also on the agenda, Parsons said.

“We are entering into many partnerships throughout the community, through outpatient services and our mental health center, and we are increasing our capacity for children and adolescents,” he said, adding that the hospital will reallocate some of its 88-bed capacity for children and adolescents.

VPH is the only facility in the area that provides inpatient mental health services for children under 12. The next closest facility is in Chattanooga. “We’re providing a level of expertise nobody else in the community can provide,” he said.

Parsons said that the hospital is focusing on building clinical services for mood disorders, psychotic disorders and child and adolescent psychiatry. They are nearly complete in changing over to an electronic medical record, and all faculty positions are filled.

A new partial hospital program for adults will be offered once the renovations are complete. The program will be a 20-patient stepdown unit for psychiatric patients who are improving, but still need active treatment and therapy. The patients will come into the hospital, stay for at least six hours a day for intensive psychotherapy and medication management, and at the end of day they can go home and return again the next day.

Cirpili says a strong nursing team plays an important role in bolstering VPH’s commitment to delivering patient-centered care.

“We really want to focus our energies on having patient-centered care that brings respect and dignity to the patients and families affected by mental illness,” Cirpili said. “We want to make sure that our nurses are providing, shift to shift, the kind of care we would expect for our own family members. And when our patients leave us, we know we have given them the necessary tools to take care of themselves going into the future.”