New Hampshire Hospital increases bed capacity

New Hampshire Hospital in Concord as seen on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

New Hampshire Hospital in Concord as seen on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 03-27-2024 10:23 AM

New Hampshire Hospital has expanded its bed capacity in an effort to stop boarding patients in hospital emergency rooms.

The “E” unit at the inpatient psychiatric facility in Concord, originally designed for children, has undergone renovations to accommodate the adult population. When it reopens on April 1, it will introduce an additional 12 psychiatric beds, increasing the facility’s capacity to 164.

The hospital’s expansion continues, with six new beds to  be added by May. Additionally, the “F” unit is being renovated to meet the hospital’s maximum capacity of 185 beds by the end of the year.

“As we make steady advancements in our work toward eliminating ED boarding in New Hampshire, the increase in bed capacity at New Hampshire Hospital will help reduce wait times for people who need inpatient psychiatric care,” said Lori Weaver, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, in a press release.

Governor Chris Sununu called the expansion “another big win for mental health in New Hampshire.”

Over the years, New Hampshire’s mental health system has faced significant challenges in treating patients. Due to a shortage of acute psychiatric beds, many patients find themselves languishing in hospital emergency rooms for days, if not weeks, without adequate care, or sometimes no care at all, until an inpatient bed becomes available.

According to the state’s website, seven adults were waiting in hospital emergency rooms for a bed to become available as of Tuesday.

While the addition of beds is part of the state's 10-year mental health plan and “Mission Zero," a comprehensive initiative developed in collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness NH and the New Hampshire Hospital Association, it also focuses on expanding early intervention resources, recruiting mental health workers and facilitating smoother transitions for individuals with acute mental health conditions back into the community.

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“However, inpatient capacity-building is just one part of a multi-pronged effort to eliminate the wait list. The mental health system continues to make strides in many of our Mission Zero strategies that will help reduce the need for, and length of, inpatient psychiatric admissions,” said Weaver.