A few weeks ago, Massachusetts celebrated the opening of its first state-of-the-art treatment facility for mental health concerns in over 60 years. The 320-bed state hospital was opened at a cost of over $300 million, and demonstrates the state’s commitment to the severely mentally ill — and help them better integrate back into their local communities.
The hospital is located in Worcester, Mass. and is called the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital. Notice that “recovery center” is placed in the name before the word “hospital,” emphasizing the change in focus of this facility. According to the state’s Department of Mental Health, it is the largest non-transportation construction project ever completed in Massachusetts.
But it’s unlike any state mental hospital you’ve ever seen before.
The facility itself — instead of just housing and feeding patients — is meant to help in the process of recovery. Officials hope it becomes a blueprint for future inpatient care across the nation.
The Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital is designed to allow patients to be active in programs and activities on its campus, and to resemble home environments and neighborhoods. Its programs will also emphasize physical well-being through exercise, movement, nutrition, fresh air and access to sunlight.
The new facility is designed to help transition patients with severe and persistent mental illness into the “Community First” program, which is based upon community placement into group home and independent living settings, according to the Taunton Daily Gazette. “For many patients, the quality of care and the cost of care is better in a community setting,” Patrick told The Herald News editorial board Thursday.
The rooms — separated into wings for adult and children/adolescents, feature private bedrooms and bathrooms (children’s rooms have shared bathrooms) to offer patients greater independence, reports the Taunton Daily Gazette:
The model is based on highly individualized care, giving patients more autonomy in their decisions and every day choices. It empowers and encourages peers — those who know the struggle of illness — to help patients. There is an emphasis on whole-body wellness of the mind, body and spirit.
[The new facility] is secure, but welcoming, bright and open. It has a variety of indoor and outdoor gathering spaces with different themes. There are many quiet, meditative spaces both indoors and outdoors.
Here’s hoping the new facility puts old state hospitals to shame — and out of business.
Read the full article: Mass. opens new state mental health facility