UMC Demopolis to hold open house Thursday

Rotary Club hears from adult psych director

Rosanne Massee speaks to the Demopolis Rotary Club on Wednesday. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

Almost everyone knows a friend or family member who suffers from some form of mental illness, Rosanne Massee told members of the Demopolis Rotary Club Wednesday.

In fact, she said, one in five adults in America has or will have some form of mental illness. When it comes to serious mental illness, nearly 10 million Americans, or one in 25, experiences it.

Massee, who holds numerous degrees in nursing and behavioral health, manages the newly opened Adult Psychiatric facility at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital.

Mental illness requires treatment when it affects daily life and relationships, Massee said. The mental health programs offered by the hospital try to address those issues in order to affect recovery in the least restrictive situation.

The services at the hospital are for those 18 years of age and older. When referred, patients are evaluated by the behavioral health staff and one of the three psychiatrists on board. The client can take part in intensive outpatient services, a structured program held four hours each day. If more care is needed, patients are moved to the Partial Hospitalization Program with an interdisciplinary team overseeing their progress.

Only in the most severe cases are patients admitted to the new 10-bed inpatient unit at the hospital. Often admission is made in an emergency situation, such as attempted suicide, homicidal behavior or delusions that warrant further inpatient treatment, Massee said.

Patients usually stay between three days up to several weeks. Some are admitted voluntarily, but in other cases commitment hearings before the probate judge are held in the hospital.

Massee said the hospital admitted its first patient to the new unit in early February. It has taken a maximum of five patients as the staff gets used to the facility, and the unit will be fully opened April 12. “We’re getting better every day,” she said. “I find this an exciting time.”

The hospital only began plans to convert a section of the second floor for the Adult Psychiatric unit after an intensive needs assessment, and it had to meet rigorous standards before opening.

The semi-private rooms “are not aesthetically pleasing,” said Massee, but they are safe for both patients and staff.

The unit includes a communal room for eating and therapy sessions and a seclusion room, which, she said, the staff has “not had to use since the unit opened.”

She sees the unit as a way to give hope to those suffering from mental illness and “a chance for a good outcome.”

The hospital’s secure second floor also houses the Geriatric Psychology unit and a medical detox unit, both of which also hold 10 beds.

BWWMH utilizing Remo Drum Table in music therapy

Sounds of drumbeats sometimes can be heard in the halls of Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital.

The rhythmic beating is part of the music therapy for patients in the geriatric psychiatric unit of the hospital. Bridgett McLean, board certified music therapist, took advantage of an offer by the makers of the Remo Drum Table to try out the instrument for two months, write an evaluation of it and, if desired, purchase it for half price.

“Everyone involved in the experimental process expressed enjoyment each time,” she said. “There were numerous requests for the instrument to be brought back for even more activities.”

Thanks to a $333.40 grant from the hospital’s Auxiliary, McLean now has the drum table permanently.

The drum, resting on an adjustable base, is large enough for six to a dozen people to sit around it. McLean uses it with patients exhibiting several diagnoses including dementia, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, psychosis, suicidal tendencies, depression and anxiety.

She teaches the patients various rhythms and they play along with melodies. Jazz, African and Caribbean music lend themselves to the drum table, but recently the group played along to songs by the Eagles.

During the two-month trial period, McLean observed that patients were better able to follow directions, had improved listening skills and left the session in a better mood. None of the patients showed a negative response to the use of the drum table.

The Remo Drum Table isn’t out on the market yet, said McLean, so BWWMH is among the first to be able to offer the instrument’s use to its geriatric patients.

Hospital Relay for Life team announces plant sale

BWWMH Relay for Life Plant Sale 2015

Hospital ceremony recognizes Alzheimer’s victims, families

Clara Nell Cameron

Clara Nell Cameron

Tombigbee Geriatric Behavioral Health sponsored its third annual Alzheimer’s Disease Memorial Service Thursday evening at Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital. Mayor Mike Grayson was on hand to proclaim November as Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in Demopolis, and Clara Nell Cameron shared her family’s personal experiences dealing with a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Following the program, a candle lighting ceremony was held in honor and memory of Alzheimer’s victims.

Tombigbee Geriatric Behavioral Health Program Director Jeanette Crusoe

Tombigbee Geriatric Behavioral Health Program Director Jeanette Crusoe

Rural Health Scholars visit Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital

bwwmh - studentsStudents from across the state visited Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital Monday as part of the University of Alabama’s Rural Health Scholars program. They are shown with Dr. James Leeper of the University’s College of Community Health Services. The Rural Health Scholars program allows 25 rising high school seniors from rural counties to live on-campus for five weeks during the summer, taking two classes for college credit and exploring career opportunities in healthcare.

LETTER: Patient compliments Bryan Whitfield Hospital ER

To: Facility Administrator

RE: Emergency Room Service

My name is Rickey Terry. On February 22, 2014 I was brought to your facility for a laceration to my forehead that happened during a hunt in Livingston AL. I just wanted someone to know that from the time I met the intake personnel until I left, I was treated with the utmost professional attention that I’ve ever received. Everyone took the laceration (which looked bad) serious and wasted no time in getting me to the treatment room.

In this day and time, hospitals and especially emergency rooms get a lot of negative reviews about how long it took to see someone or the quality of care they received. I can say that Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital isn’t one of them.

My son who drove me from Livingston was very scared but felt at ease after we got there. I appreciate the care your facility gave me. I was a long way from home and knew nothing about your facility. I just want to make sure that Dr. Schuller, the intake staff, technicians and nurses know that they did a great job and that it’s appreciated.


Rickey D. Terry

Posted at the author’s request

Meador says council seeking ‘alternative solutions’ for hospital

Demoplis City Council member Bill Meador stated that the city is working on “some alternative solutions for the hospital” at the end of Thursday evening’s council meeting at Rooster Hall.

Meador did not specifically refer to a hospital board request for $68,000 in emergency funding to keep the hospital’s Labor and Delivery unit open for an additional 60 days, during which time a community task force will seek possible ways to keep the unit open long term.

“I’ll leave it at that,” Meador added to his initial statement.

Mayor Mike Grayson then clarified that Meador was speaking about the L&D situation, to which Meador replied, “If you want to say that.”

The L&D unit has been slated for closure for financial reasons based on recent hospital board action, but an outcry from the public led to the request for the city and/or county to produce the $68,000 infusion. The council took no action on the hospital request, but held an hour-long executive session earlier in the meeting to discuss financial matters. The council did not state specifically if the discussion centered on the hospital request.

Prior to the executive session, the council voted to make its meeting minutes “sortable” by switching software to a PDF format. Council member Charles Jones, who has researched the possibility in recent weeks with the assistance of Demopolis City Schools IT coordinator Jeremiah Dial, said the necessary software is free.
Dial has agreed to assist in the process, which will ultimately allow faster searches of past council meeting minutes and better public access to the minutes.
The council held off on buying individual tablets for council members’ use during meetings. The tablets would cost $320 each.

In other action, the council approved re-zoning the  property at 502 N. Front Ave. from I-2 to R-3, which will allow a mobile home at the site, approved a Severe Weather Preparedness Tax Holiday for Feb. 21-23, and accepted the low bid from Rice Heating and Cooling to prepare a self-contained area at the former New Era building for use by the University of West Alabama. The Rice bid was $20,599.
Grayson made several announcements, including a Demopolis CATV rate increase from $49 to $51 on March 1, the opening of a new vehicle dealership, Townsend Ford, in Demopolis, and the recent arrival of a new physician, Dr. Tiffany Ward.
The mayor also told the council that Col. Hugh McCall of the Department of Public Safety sent a letter thanking the city for assistance from several Demopolis Police Department officers at the Footwash in Hale County in September. McCall’s letter said the officers were “valuable members of our team who displayed professionalism at all times.”

First Baby of 2014 receives shower of gifts from community

Photo courtesy of Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital

Photo courtesy of Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital

Meet Karson Lamar Perry, the first baby of 2014 to be born at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital! Karson was born to Alicha Witherspoon of Newbern and Kancy Perry on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 3:06 a.m. He weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and was 20 inches long. He is welcomed by a brother and sister ages 1 and 5. Businesses, individuals and churches all donated a buggy full of gifts for the mother and child including: Charlie Burls, First United Methodist Church of Demopolis, South’s Finest Meats, Anonymous Donor, Trustmark Bank, Mem Webb, St. Paul Baptist Church, Greater New Hope Baptist Church, the BWWMH Wellness Center, Mary Scott, Wanda Campbell and the Mennonite Church. Congrats and welcome to the world, Karson!!!