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North Country Relaunches Geriatric Unit

Published Thursday Sep 29, 2016

A new 10-bed inpatient geriatric psychiatric unit at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville will open in October that will also provide training to nursing students at White Mountains Community College (WMCC). Slated to begin in the spring of 2017, WMCC students in their second year of their Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree, may opt to complete clinical training and gain credits for their psychiatric nursing theory program at Cottage Hospital.

Cottage Hospital’s new Ray of Hope Geriatric Behavioral Health unit will provide care for people 65 years and older with persistent or late onset behavioral health illnesses or concerns. For North Country residents, the closest such facilities are now hours away by car.

“Our state’s aging population and lack of local inpatient behavioral health services for people of all ages in the North Country is of great concern not only for patients, but for the future workforce who will provide them care,” said Holly McCormack, MSN, chief nursing officer at Cottage Hospital. “Cottage Hospital’s new Ray of Hope Geriatric Behavioral Health unit will provide interdisciplinary care to patients while helping the next wave of nurses and healthcare providers gain specialized training in the assessment, treatment, rehabilitation, prevention and education surrounding behavioral health.”

This partnership is not the first time Cottage Hospital and WMCC have worked together. For the last 10 years, the hospital has been one of WMCC’s five clinical training sites where nursing students gain real-world training. The new geriatric psychiatric unit and increased enrollments at WMCC made the latest program partnership a win-win.

“Clinical affiliations with healthcare partners are an integral part of the curriculum at WMCC and across the Community College System of New Hampshire because of the diverse and unique services they offer,” says Emily MacDonald, MS, RN, professor and chair of WMCC’s Department of Nursing. “It is our obligation to provide students access to the full spectrum of healthcare disciplines.”

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