Donors Fund Newly Opened Emergency Services Assessment Center

February 1st, 2009

Through the generosity of donors, the David Lawrence Foundation was able to fund the construction of a newly renovated and expanded Emergency Services Assessment Center.

The Emergency Assessment Center opened this month and includes the addition of three locked, secure observation rooms designed to increase the Center’s capacity for accepting, triaging and observing individuals in crisis who may be suffering from a mental illness, personal crisis or serious emotional problem.

The Emergency Assessment Center works like a traditional hospital emergency room where staff specially trained in suicide risk assessments can triage clients by conducting an emergency screening to determine if they are appropriate for a more restrictive inpatient admission on the Crisis Unit or can be provided stabilization services on an urgent or routine basis. Individuals in crisis presenting to the Center voluntarily or involuntarily can be held and observed for up to 12 hours in the observation area.

Due to increased demand, David Lawrence Center has been faced with extreme overcrowding on the Crisis Stabilization Unit for several years. This new area – which includes a new entry way, three private screening offices and three observation rooms – improves the Center’s ability to divert individuals from unnecessarily being admitted to the Crisis Unit against their will under the Baker Act Law.

David Schimmel, CEO of the David Lawrence Center, states, “Expanding the Crisis Unit remains the Center’s top priority, but until then, this observation area will help to alleviate the pressures on the Acute Care Services Department and assist staff in managing appropriate census levels on the Unit. We can’t thank the Foundation and our donors enough for their continued support of our facility needs.”

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