Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Press Release
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Augustana awarded funding to improve behavioral health services


March 14, 2019

The Augustana Care Center in Moose Lake was one of 21 health care nursing facilities in Minnesota, through CareChoice Cooperative, to be awarded funding for a two-year performance-based improvement project to develop staff training and patient services designed to enhance facility behavioral health services. The funding was provided by the Minnesota Department of Human Services for Resident Centered Behavioral Health (RCBH).

“Nearly 50 percent of individuals receiving long-term care have a mental disorder other than dementia; these disorders frequently co-occur with dementia and/or physical disabilities. Mental disorders are associated with poorer health outcomes, increased functional impairment and decreased adherence to treatment.” (National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging, “Integrating Older Adult Behavioral Health into Long Term Care,” Jan. 2017, p. 4.)

The Resident Centered Behavioral Health project will focus on the changing role for nursing facilities in behavioral health services. Nursing facilities are seeing residents that are significantly older, sicker and ill-equipped to manage medical conditions co-existing with long-term behavioral health issues. Nursing facility residents who have been living in the community and successfully managing mental illness for many years are presented with new difficulties managing mental conditions resulting from aging. These medical conditions often lead to destabilizing changes that complicate former mental health management strategies. Managing behavioral health in nursing facilities is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. RCBH proposes to address some of the challenges posed by the significant shift in population behavioral health needs by re-thinking staffing specific to managing behavioral health needs, implementing protocols and service standards, elevating staff training to increase competencies and engaging providers to utilize best practices and person-specific non-pharmacologic interventions. A facility is envisioned where a multi-disciplinary team brings a holistic and comprehensive skill set to effectively manage behavioral health needs and successfully support both residents and staff.

RCBH project goals are to increase staff competencies, improve resident quality of life through strengthened relationships, reduce the prevalence of resident depressive symptoms and reduce the incidence of worsening or serious resident behavioral problems. The project begins on Jan. 1, 2019, and ends on December 31, 2020.


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