WIHI: Mental Health Care in the Hospital: Preventing Harm, Promoting Safety

Date: ​October 9, 2014


  • Kelly McCutcheon Adams, LICSW, Director, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Anna Roth, RN, MS, MPH, CEO, Contra Costa Regional Medical Center & Health Centers
  • Teresa Pasquini, Mom/Advocate, Chair, Behavioral Healthcare Partnership, Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers
  • James F. O’Dea, PhD, MBA, Regional Director, Hartford Healthcare Behavioral Health Network
  • Richard Wohl, MSW, MBA, President, Princeton House Behavioral Health; Senior Vice President, Princeton Healthcare System

With all the discussion going on about the integration of behavioral health with primary care in the outpatient setting, we don’t want to ignore what’s happening in the hospital for patients with psychiatric conditions and needs. Safety has been one of the major issues identified in recent years… safety for individuals in crisis, for the staff caring for them, and for family members. Those who’ve identified effective improvements are often the patients themselves.

We ventured into the acute care setting for this WIHI. IHI’s Kelly McCutcheon Adams set the scene for a terrific panel of guests who are working hard on partnering with patients and families to improve their overall experience in the hospital; the prevention of patient harm and staff injuries; the redesign of physical environments; better management of medications; and heading off crises in the making. 
Contra Costa’s Anna Roth and parent Teresa Pasquini shared a powerful story about collaboration, starting with transforming the experience of the psychiatric emergency. Richard Wohl from Princeton House Behavioral Health shared what goes into creating a state of the art, safe, inpatient facility and environment for patients in need of psychiatric hospitalization. The features and attributes will resonate with many. James O’Dea from Hartford Healthcare Behavioral Health Network described the “the three-legged stool” that frames his team’s improvement work, and new efforts to get further upstream with patients to help avoid the need for sudden trips to the ED and the hospital.
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