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Tuality returns to treating elderly psychiatric pateints after closing Forest Grove center in 2018.

COURTESY PHOTO - Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro will soon be home to a new center for geriatric psychiatry, which is slated to open next month.More than a year after OHSU Tuality Healthcare closed its geriatric psychiatry center in Forest Grove, the organization is prepared to re-open the center at its Hillsboro hospital.

On Wednesday, Tuality announced it was opening a new Center for Geriatric Psychiatry at Tuality Community Hospital, 335 S.E. Eighth Ave., in downtown Hillsboro.

The center is one three acute care psychiatric facilities in the state that specializes in treating the elderly. The center will treat everything from mood disorders and dementia, to anxiety, psychosis and other psychiatric conditions.

The center is a return to geriatric psychiatry for Tuality, which operated a similar center in Forest Grove for years. Tuality shuttered the center in 2018 after new requirements from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services required extensive renovations of the facility, Tuality president Lori James-Nielsen told the Forest Grove City Council in 2018.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Tuality president Lori James-Nielsen speaks with front desk staff in 2017.The requirements are intended to create "a ligature risk-free environment," in order to prevent self-harm by residents, James-Nielsen said at the time. Architectural features — including those as simple as door handles and ceiling tiles — that patients could potentially use to hang themselves must be removed or replaced under the requirements, she explained.

Upgrades were not finished by the time officials from the accrediting commission for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services visited the facility in 2018, and Tuality was given 60 days to address the issue.

Tuality said the work required couldn't be completed in time, James-Nielsen said, and opted to expedite plans to move the facility to Hillsboro.

"Evaluating all of those options really forced us to make a difficult decision to temporarily suspend the service so that we could build on a new campus a safe environment that can meet the expectations of the regulatory requirements but also serve these patients in a better facility," James-Nielsen said.

Tuality spokesman Steven Needham said the center's inpatient unit has been renovated to meet "the highest standards for safety, privacy, patient comfort and technology." Patients at the center are checked on several times an hour, Needham said, along with group activities to promote mental activity and socialization.

"We develop a patient-centered care plan that emphasizes behavioral interventions as well as the use of psychotropic medication," Needham said. "We focus on rehabilitation to help our patients achieve the highest possible level of function."

Tuality is a partner with Oregon Health & Science University, which Needham said gives patients access to the hospital's resources, including brain-imaging and surgical consultation.

The 22-bed center will start accepting patients in July.

Mark Miller contributed to this report.


By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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