Taking cue from a Bangalore-based mental hospital, state-run Thane Mental Hospital has initiated the process of developing a family ward for its patients, a step that health officials feel will speed up the rehabilitation process. The concept will allow a mentally challenged patient to live with a family member in the hospital while undergoing treatment.
Inspired from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, the idea has proved to improve the recovery of mentally challenged patients, especially those struggling with depression, said Prakash Muppiru, attached with mental health cell in Directorate of Health Services (DHS).
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A meeting was convened at the DHS to discuss the same for three other state-handled mental hospitals, in Pune, Nagpur and Ratnagiri.
The plan will benefit over 1,400 patients undergoing treatment at the 1,850 bed Thane hospital.
Dr Rajendra Shirsath, Thane Mental Hospital’s superintendent, said, “We will visit the Bangalore’s facility to study how the concept works. We have a lot of spare space in the hospital premises which could be utilised. One room for a single patient and his/her relative is how we have planned it at the moment.”
According to Dr Sadhana Tayade, assistant director at DHS, initial budget is estimated at Rs 50 crore, following which more funds will be requested from the state government. Experts, however, said proper care of relatives staying with the patient is essential. Dr Sandeep Dvekar, a psychiatrist, said, “In NIMHANS, a family support group trains family members on ways to handle patients and behavioural changes they can expect. Such a training is important for the mental well being of the patients’ family members.” The hospital plans to keep out patients with suicidal tendencies.
“Families can lose their morale if they see their loved ones in a suicidal mood everyday,” Dvekar added. But Dr Nilen Shah, psychiatrist at civic-run Sion hospital, said, “If family members stay with patients during treatment, mood swings can be handled better after patients are discharged. This step will benefit both the families and patients.”