Psychiatric hospital plans to raise money for new facility
At any given time, the 32 beds at West Springs Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Grand Junction, are filled.
An additional 10 to 22 people are on wait lists each day.
Those people who would be better served at a psychiatric hospital may be housed in jails, medical hospitals or taken to a Denver-area psychiatric hospital, said Sharon Raggio, president and chief executive officer of Mind Springs Health, the private, not-for-profit parent company of West Springs Hospital.
“If we weren’t here, people would be placed on a legal hold. They could be sent to the Front Range,” Raggio said during a meeting with some members of the Grand Junction City Council on Wednesday.
But more local people could receive the appropriate psychiatric mental health treatment they need if West Springs Hospital is able to raise roughly $7 million by next summer.
The organization has plans to break ground in mid-July to build a new 63,000-square-foot facility to include 48 beds. With an additional $8 million in funding, West Springs will be able to add an additional 16-bed unit in the future.
In total, the project is expected to cost $34 million and double the amount of beds available on the Western Slope, from 32 to 64.
“We don’t think it will be long until we need the new 16-bed space,” Raggio said.
Designs for the new hospital have come from input from patients and staff, said Kim Boe, executive vice president of West Springs Hospital.
The campaign for the new hospital is called Building Sanctuary Rebuilding Lives.
The new building will have access to as much natural light as possible and nooks for patients to be alone, yet in sight of nurse’s stations and staff. A day room and front lobby will serve as welcoming spaces for patients and staff. Staff, who have tough jobs and can work long hours, will have access to a light room and “be bathed in blue light or whatever light is healing,” Boe said. “I can’t wait to show you that room when we get it built.”
Boe said the current hospital is antiquated in its form and function. It was built to accommodate two people per room, yet there are often patients who should not be sharing a room.
Fixtures for the new hospital are created with personal safety in mind — right down to the door knobs, door hinges and water faucets. The new design calls for furniture that is built into walls or the floor, so it cannot be removed or thrown.
Rooms are created to be both private and semi-private. Areas inside can be cordoned off or expanded as situations arise, Boe said.
There are plans for interior courtyards and a half-court gym.
Boe said the plan for the state-of-the art facility already is turning heads in the mental health community, about the correct way to design a safe, therapeutic hospital.
Three separate entrances will give access to those who are brought in by law enforcement, the general public and for those in crisis.
Open, inviting spaces in the common areas can work as a way for staff to help access patients’ needs.
“Most people who come to us are depressed and suicidal,” Raggio said. “Sometimes you just need a place to sit and have a personal conversation that normalizes the situation.”
One of the 16-bed units will be dedicated to youths. On a recent day, that meant three youths were on a waiting list and had to seek help at psychiatric hospitals on the Front Range, Raggio said. Mind Springs Health is listed as one of dozens of are agencies seeking donor support this coming Tuesday, on Colorado Gives Day, at ColoradoGives.org.