It is my honor to introduce and present the jewel of western Colorado. West Springs Hospital is defining what is meant by “quality hospital care”, easily meeting a criteria of excellence on a variety of measures and continually growing to meet the needs of Coloradans in today’s world. We are succeeding in our mission. We save lives, we help rebuild lives, and we inspire hope. We do this by providing exceptional mental health care and the strength of the health and vitality of our communities depends upon our ongoing success. Our new, state-of-the-art hospital has been open now for almost two years, and I’m looking forward to many more years to come.
As many know, we are the only psychiatric hospital in Western Colorado. But few know what defines an excellent psychiatric hospital, and what makes West Springs excellent. We are not just any typical rural mental health facility. For starters, people need to feel safe. Our 21st century hospital has the most modern and latest safety features available in the world – ranging from the choice of door hinges and handles to the geographic layout of the nursing stations. Many people with psychiatric disorders have experienced a range of traumas and stresses in their lives and feeling safe additionally means that staff are trained in this fact. Our work culture inculcates ‘trauma-informed treatment’ into everything that we do.
People shouldn’t feel trapped in hospitals. Our hospital is blessed to have a wide range of windows and access to natural light. There are also outdoor spaces that are enclosed within the hospital campus that allow people access to fresh air and sunshine. There is room to stroll. Having a gym is obviously helpful for exercise, but is also an alternative place to go for patients who are feeling confined. People need to feel hope and to grow and the hospital is designed and the employees are trained to let that happen.
People need to feel that their illness is well-treated. Admission to a hospital means that there is an illness, and that it requires treatment. Diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illness is a rapidly progressing field, with daily advances in neuroscience and our understanding of mental disease. We have recruited staff from across the country – from Hawaii to the Carolinas, Minnesota to Texas – providing a broad range of proficiency, skills and knowledge and allowing us to be a source of expertise in psychiatry. Relatedly, we are a training ground for many of the psychiatric providers on the Western Slope.
But recovery is not just lying in bed and waiting for the medications to work. The hospital is also notable for the depth of therapeutic activities in which patients can be involved, on a daily basis. Tailored therapies may include one-on-one therapy, group therapy, exercise therapy, yoga, music and play, instruction, etc. and we are staffed to provide this individualized attention to recovery. Nonetheless, we know that hospitalization is just one step in the road to recovery. Many are surprised to find that the average length of hospitalization is 6 days – with most recovery occurring outside the hospital.
Integrating brief hospitalization with ongoing outpatient care, furthering the collaborative activities amongst a variety of stakeholders, and coordinating that care can be challenging and we are meeting that challenge, pioneering providing clinical information access to other physicians and breaking down the barriers between psychiatric care and other types of medical care. Proof of our success in integrating collaborative care is our low readmission rates; we are easily in the top 1% in the United States. This numerical success comes about because of our abilities in integrating care with the many other levels of care outside of the hospital.
Speaking on behalf of our entire leadership and treatment team, please know that we care for your loved one or patient with the utmost respect. Thank you for placing your trust in us.
Frank Lotrich, MD Ph.D