Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center staff ‘blindsided’ by planned closure of psych unit
Members of the mental health staff at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center say they were blindsided when they were told the psychiatric unit would close at the end of the month.
Workers say they received a letter last week that told them the 25-bed, in-patient psychiatric unit at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center would permanently close.
“The reason they're giving us is there's no doctor, which is not reasonable enough. It's not justifiable,” says Salina Flores, a registered nurse. “They can't find any doctors? What efforts have they done?”
The CEO of One Brooklyn Health, which oversees Kingsbrook, told News 12 a statement that, in addition to the clinical staffing challenges, utilization of the Kingsbrook Psychiatric inpatient beds has markedly declined.
The staff expects they will be able to keep their jobs and just be relocated to other hospitals within One Brooklyn Health, but their primary concern is removing these critical services from the community.
“As far as I know, there's no other unit around that specializes in that, and we know how to work with geriatric patients, age 65 and up,” says Tara Delmoor, a certified mental health nurse. “These are patients that generally a lot of times come from nursing homes, or they live at home and they're unable to care for themselves."
Susan Downs has worked at the facility since its inception 25 years ago. For her, she says they are more than patients, many are like family.
“It’s very devastating,” she says.
One Brooklyn Health says it will relocate patients to other hospitals and is working on outpatient services. The letter states the unit will officially close Nov. 2.