Heywood Hospital, a 134-bed acute care non-profit hospital in Gardner, Massachusetts, US, is set to reopen its inpatient mental health unit on 11 January, following approval from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.  

Initially, six beds of the proposed 12-bed adult unit will be operational, with plans to add the remaining beds in the future.  

Admissions will be conducted under approved staffing levels, under a gradual and planned progression strategy.  

The closure of the Mental Health Unit in October 2021 was due to a shortage of qualified personnel and continued even beyond the Covid public emergency period. 

The reopened mental health unit includes several upgrades such as a sensory room that will feature calming elements such as a mural, relaxation music, dimmer lighting, and rocking chairs.  

This sensory room was funded by the Robert J Mullen Charitable Trust. 

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Further sensory resources such as fidgets, stress balls, weighted blankets, as well as music and art therapy supplies will be combined with the therapy to enable patients to have effective coping strategies post-discharge. 

Security measures have also been bolstered with the introduction of Alertus safety fobs for staff, new cameras, and management of aggressive behaviour (MOAB) training for staff and personnel involved in implementing security. 

Besides the inpatient mental health unit, Heywood Hospital operates a Partial Hospital Program that caters to around 40 adult patients a day.  

The Heywood Medical Group provides outpatient psychiatric services and counselling for both adult and paediatric patients while also maintaining school-based behavioural health services.  

The school-based behavioural health services cater to around 700 students annually across five school districts. These services include mental health counselling, offered either in-person or virtually. 

Heywood Healthcare is an independent and community-owned healthcare system that serves north-central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.