First contact: Ramapo Ridge Psychiatric Hospital Admissions staff eases anxiety of patients and families

Compassionate and caring.

Those two words characterize the Admissions staff approach to Ramapo Ridge Psychiatric Hospital (RRPH) patients and their loved ones.

“We are usually the first contact with Ramapo Ridge, so a large part of our responsibilities focus on extending compassion to patients and their families who are under stress during a time of crisis,” says Jill Ussher, LPC, Admissions Director.

RRPH is Christian Health Care Center’s 58-bed inpatient hospital for adult and geriatric patients. It is licensed by the State of New Jersey, deemed status accreditation by The Joint Commission, and accepts both voluntary and involuntary patients. The vast majority of RRPH patients are referred by acute-care hospitals, emergency rooms, and long-term care and assisted-living residences. Other patients are admitted from home or from their physician’s office.

An interdisciplinary team develops individualized treatment plans guided by the goals for treatment that the patient and family define. The team includes a psychiatrist who oversees the plan, psychiatric nurses and aides, social worker, activities therapist, dietitian, and chaplain. Admissions are accepted 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Daily therapeutic treatment includes individual and group therapy, psychoeducation, medication, and therapeutic activities. When requested by a patient, faith integration is provided. Family members are included in treatment planning whenever possible and with the patient’s consent.

Easing fears and anxieties of patients and family members is a top priority for the Admissions staff. The members, along with the entire CHCC team, are guided by our Person- and Family-centered Care (PFCC) model. PFCC focuses on treating patients, residents, clients, consumers, and their family members as active and engaged partners on the interdisciplinary care team. It focuses on respect and dignity, information sharing, participation in care and decision-making, and collaboration in the delivery of care and on policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation.

“Usually the first contact with the family is on the phone, and the support starts then. The family is usually and understandably extremely nervous, especially if it’s the first time that their loved one is being referred to a mental-health facility,” Ms. Ussher says. “They don’t know what to expect. They need reassurance that we’re going to keep their loved one safe.

“We explain what we do on the inpatient unit, what kind of treatment will be provided, and what to expect once treatment is complete. We want to reassure the family that Ramapo Ridge is a modern, friendly hospital with a compassionate and caring professional staff which provides excellent care and will treat their loved one with respect.”

At RRPH, and all CHCC programs and residences, the patient and his/her family are of the utmost importance.

“I always want to make sure that the patient and family know that they’re care about and supported, and that we’re here to help them,” Ms. Ussher says. “People come first.”

Ramapo Ridge Psychiatric Hospital is one of only two hospitals in the nation designated by The Joint Commission as a Center of Excellence for dementia care.

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