Delaware Psychiatric Center earns accreditation, continues improvements

The Delaware Psychiatric Center has earned another three years of accreditation through the Joint Commission survey.

The accreditation is another positive step in the right direction for the facility following years of turmoil and reports of misconduct.

The Joint Commission survey accredits medical facilities across the nation using a check list of operational standards.

“One section of their standards is focused on the facilities; it’s called the life safety code,” explained DPC CEO Greg Valentine. “The life safety code is insuring that your building, your environment is safe. They are looking at fire codes and points in the building where a client could hurt themselves.

The Joint Commission found a few areas of improvement that need to be addressed such as more documentation of safety checks and reconfiguring hanging points (areas of the building where a client could try to hang themselves), according to Valentine.

The state Department of Management Services is responsible for maintaining the building and will need to address those concerns.

The facility was also graded on quality of care and treatment of clients. Valentine said the surveyors make sure staff is using recognized standards of care that are safe, effective and have positive outcomes. He added that they received a positive response from patients in that area.

“The surveyors always talk a lot to the clients, the patients, and they try to see if the clients have concerns,” explained Valentine. “They really dig to see how the clients perceive us. One of the surveyors said to me ‘I tried really hard to find somebody that would say something negative and none of the clients had anything negative to say.”

The Delaware Psychiatric Center is psychiatric hospital for adults who need short term treatment. The facility has undergone major reorganizing over the past few years following reports of abuse, rape and suicides that occurred between 2007 and 2009.

The hospital underwent a complete change in management and the state legislature passed several bills to improve conditions at the hospital.

In 2011, the state of Delaware settled with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding patients living at the facility for an extended period of time.

“It had to do with people staying in intuitions too long and not having the opportunity to live normalized lives in the community,” explained Valentine. “So, the settlement was an agreement between the U.S. DOJ and Delaware to fund community programs appropriately as well as housing type vouchers so that people could leave the intuitions.”

This resulted in the downsizing of the facility from 200 beds to 120.

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