ST. CLOUD -- A new unit within CentraCare is now open to better help adult patients experiencing emergency mental health needs.

The Helmsley Emergency Psychiatric Assessment, Treatment and Healing Unit (EmPATH) breaks away from a typical hospital room setting, to a more patient-centric space.

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Larry Hook is the Physicians Specialty Director for Hospital Based Behavioral Health. He says the unit takes patients away from the chaotic environment of the emergency room into a welcoming and calming setting where they can be assessed, observed and received more personalized care.

This unit allows us to treat the patient in the right setting and environment to get them moving more quickly back to their regular life.

Hook says studies have shown roughly 80 percent of patients who utilize the EmPATH Unit are released within a 24 hours period.

The idea is this space is for patients who do not need long term mental health care, but that more brief stabilization period.

The EmPath Unit has several recliners spaced around a living room-esque setting, in addition to showers, bathrooms, laundry and a few rooms for private conversations or to help relieve stress.

Hook says they feel this unit will be a valuable resource to the community to help tackle the growing need for mental health services.

Funding for the new unit was made possible through a $1.2-million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

St. Cloud Hospital EmPath Unit


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