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Freeman expands mental health facility for elderly

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Freeman Health System in Joplin has expanded a special unit for seniors.

The geropsychiatric unit at Freeman Health System recently doubled its patient capacity from 10 to 20 beds.

The increased capacity allows the unit to meet the community's increased demand for its services.

Before the expansion, the unit experienced a consistent 90 percent occupancy rate.

"We are pleased that the elderly and their families have used our services to such an extent that expansion was necessary," said Michael Cole, PhD, CEO of Ozark Center, which administers the unit.

The geropsychiatric unit cares for patients 60 years old and older who are experiencing mental health changes associated with aging. The 20-bed inpatient unit is located at Freeman East Specialty Hospital.

In addition, neuropsychologist William Havins, PhD, has been added to the staff. He will provide specialized testing and diagnosis of neurological and psychological problems.

Also, Steve Phelps, RN, a community liaison nurse, will perform on-site assessments at area nursing homes and other facilities to determine a patient's eligibility for admission.

Additional nurses and assisting staff have also been added.

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