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Press Releases

Innovative New Unit for Patients with Severe Mental Illness Opens at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County

The new Extended Care Unit focuses on rehabilitation and reintegrating patients into the community

The new unit at Kings County is the second unit of its kind in the system; the first is at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and opened in 2020

Mar 15, 2023

NYC Health + Hospitals today opened a new, long stay unit at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County for patients with severe and persistent mental illness. The new Extended Care Unit can house up to 25 patients at a time. The unit offers psychopharmacological treatment, rehabilitative activities including music and art therapy, reading, and various exercises. Patients are assigned tasks that support interpersonal communication and skill development, such as doing their own laundry or curating a display of patient artwork. As part of a patient’s treatment, staff may accompany patients for trips to the grocery store and the subway to practice re-acclimating to living and thriving in the community despite their mental illness. Staff also assist patients who are experiencing homelessness with securing housing upon discharge. Admission to the Extended Care Unit is voluntary and only available to patients ready to leave acute inpatient psychiatric care. The unit at Kings County is the second Extended Care Unit in the system; the first opened at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in 2020 and has served over 200 patients to date. On average, patients stay in the Extended Care Unit for 90 days, compared to an average 18-day stay for patients in acute psychiatric inpatient care.  

“The opening of this Extended Care Unit at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County adds an important resource for New Yorkers experiencing severe mental health issues,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “The unit provides a safe, stable environment full of supports and opportunities to engage in activities that help bring meaning and purpose to life. Patients work with staff to visit local grocery stores, navigate the subway system, and engage in other inpatient and transition planning services. Thank you to the teams across all NYC Health + Hospitals facilities that provide an outsized percentage of behavioral health services across the city and thank you to the team at Kings County for bringing this unit to Brooklyn.”

“This new Extended Care Unit stands as a living symbol of our system-wide commitment to innovation and excellence in patient care. Just as healing is a long-term journey, so is our approach to care,” said NYC Health + Hospitals System Chief for Behavioral Health Omar Fattal, MD, MPH. “From higher rates of treatment engagement to improved housing conditions upon discharge, our first Extended Care Unit at Bellevue has already proven the benefits of this approach. Now our capacity to offer it is doubled as we celebrate the opening of this critical new unit at Kings County.”

“Our ECU will be pivotal in advancing our behavioral health services for patients with severe and ongoing mental illnesses by providing a comprehensive treatment plan that strategically works on re-acclimating them to life in the community,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County CEO Sheldon McLeod. “I am proud of our NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County team for their empathy, steadfast dedication, and commitment to ensuring we provide our patients with the highest quality of care in Central Brooklyn.”

“ECU is a community that is not only comprised of patients wanting to improve their lives, but of very dedicated medical and psychiatric providers, social workers, peer counselors, creative art therapists and nursing staff working alongside them,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Medical Director of Behavioral Health Homeless Services Carine Nzodom, MD. “This unit represents public heath’s unwavering support to patients with complex health needs. It is a privilege to participate in their recovery journey and watch them thrive beyond the unit. I am honored to lead this initiative and provide direct patient care.”

“What a gift it will be to provide person centered, goal-oriented treatment with the additional gift of time,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County Associate Director of Mental Health for the Extended Care Unit Priscilla Swan, LCSW, SIFI. “Our longer length of stay means our participants can dive deeper into their recovery and receive more enhanced case management support to address their psychosocial stressors. The Extended Care Unit model is such an exciting opportunity for our participants and staff. I am proud to be leading the dedicated Kings ECU team in providing the highest quality of care.”

NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest provider of behavioral health in New York City. The system provides almost 60% of behavioral health services citywide serving over 75,000 patients annually across emergency, inpatient and outpatient care.

MEDIA CONTACT: 212-788-3339; PressOffice@nychhc.org

About NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County
NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County is a 639-bed acute care teaching hospital located in Central Brooklyn. Among our highly specialized programs are a Level I Trauma Center, Pediatric Emergency Room, Level 3 Perinatal Center, Heart Health Center, Stroke Center, Sickle Cell Program, Behavioral Health Center, and Diabetes Education Center of Excellence. Many of our programs have received national recognition, including our cardiac, stroke and diabetes services. The hospital offers a broad array of primary and specialty care, including practices in neuroscience, orthopedics, urology and cardiology. Annually, our ambulatory care practices see well over 500,000 visits, and more than 150,000 visits in the Behavioral Health outpatient program, in addition to close to 23,000 inpatient discharges. NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County has played a major role in providing health care to vulnerable populations in Brooklyn since 1831, and is part of NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public health care system in the nation. For more information, visit nychealthandhospitals.org/kingscounty and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KingsCountyHosp or Twitter at @KingsCountyHosp.

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthandHospitals or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.