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Behavioral Health

What is Behavioral Health?

The Tombigbee Geriatric Behavioral Health Program is located inside of Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital. It is a specialty unit designed to provide safe, diagnosis centered psychiatric care for patients 65 and older who continue to live within their community but need additional psychiatric support. The program is designed to relieve emotional and personal distress for patients suffering from acute issues such as:

  • Depression
  • Unfounded fears
  • Complicated grief
  • Unspecified pain
  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety and panic disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Reaction adjustment
  • Dysfunctional patterns of behavior that impede daily living

The program is a physician supervised program. If offers inpatient and outpatient services.

Inpatient Hospitalization

Inpatient hospitalization involves stabilizing the crisis that led to the hospital admission. A thorough physical and mental evaluation is completed to determine the cause or causes of the psychiatric problem. All care is provided in a secure and supportive environment with 24-hour nursing care to ensure the well-being of each patient. An average length of stay for inpatient care is 12-14 days, depending on the needs of the individual.

When you get to the Behavioral Health Unit, you can expect a treatment plan that encompasses:

  • A thorough physician assessment with diagnosis
  • Specialized and supervised care to stabilize your medical condition with supervision
  • Medication management
  • Specialty nursing care 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Access to a multidisciplinary care team
  • Special day activities
  • Therapy to assist with activities of daily living and mobility if needed
  • Specialized education sessions for the patient, family and caregivers
  • Individual, group and family therapies
  • Individualized discharge planning

All treatment is geared to providing the patient and caregivers with the tools needed to maintain functioning in the community and a better quality of life.


Outpatient Treatment through our Geriatric Behavioral Health Intensive Outpatient Program allows patients to maintain their daily routines and live at home. Intensive Outpatient Treatment is especially beneficial as an interim step down from inpatient care to home.

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

The Tombigbee Geriatric Behavioral Health Intensive Outpatient Program is short-term outpatient program designed for older adults (65 and older), who do not require or no longer require hospitalization. The program services patients who have:

  • Acute symptoms, and/or behavioral manifestations of a mental disorder, which interferes with social, vocational or other daily functioning.
  • Therapy groups are provided daily to help
  • Learn positive coping skills
  • Promote stress management
  • Encourage treatment compliance
  • Provide education about mental illnesses
  • Target stabilization
  • Fosters peer to peer interaction with others who are the same age and quite often going through the same or similar life issues.

The length of stay and the frequency of attendance in I.O.P. (Intensive Outpatient Program) are determined by individual needs. Generally, intensive outpatient treatment provides up to three hours of structured therapy per day, 1-3 days per week. Patients complete the IOP in 6-8 weeks. The IOP Program is held Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Is IOP Covered by Insurance? The IOP is covered by Medicare and other Commercial Insurance Providers.

Will Transportation be provided? The IOP does provide transportation within a 40 to 45 mile radius.

What happens after I am discharged from IOP? All patients that are in or discharged from our Intensive Outpatient Program are seen by one of our board certified psychiatrists at least once a month and more often if needed; this ensures continuity of psychiatric care post hospitalization.


When we say that a person is exhibiting behaviors that are “not normal” we mean they are:

  • Exhibiting Suicidal Ideations. This can be from thoughts about how to kill themselves to just a fleeting consideration. This does not include the final act of killing themselves.
  • Having thoughts of causing harm to others.
  • Wandering away from home or the place where they reside.
  • Combative toward their caregivers, family members or friends.
  • Disrupting neighbors or others in their community.
  • Experiencing altered mental status. This behavior can range from slight confusion to total disorientation.
  • Unable to sleep through the night. This can also involve sleep walking or wandering.
  • Experiencing hallucinations or delusions
  • Refusing to perform activities of daily living, for example, eating, performing hygiene, etc.
  • Making multiple inappropriate telephone calls to others including law enforcement to report activities that do not occur.

These abnormal behaviors can be a sign that help is needed. If you see these signs in a loved one, be sure to seek medical advice. When your doctor says your loved one needs specialty Geriatric Behavioral Health Services, we are here to help.


To ensure excellent access and care, we offer:
  • Free confidential initial consultation to help determine the appropriate level of care.
  • Assistance locating the least restrictive environment that can assist meeting individual needs
  • Management of a patient’s secondary medical needs
  • Certification to admit court committed patients
  • One-to-One attention and care as needed on an individual bases
  • Experienced psychiatric nurses, techs, and therapists who are accustomed to taking care of love ones who are in a crisis and in need of psychiatric stabilization.

Referrals are accepted 24 hours a day. Physicians, Psychologists, Social Workers, Mental Health Professionals, Social Service Agencies, Residential and Long-Term Care Facilities, Family Members, or Friends may make referrals. The decision regarding admission is made by a psychiatrist.

You are not alone in caring for your elderly parent or loved one.

If you have any other questions that have not been answered in the above sections, please contact us for more information.


Who can make a referral?

Physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, mental health professionals, social service agencies, residential and long-term care facilities, family members, or friends may make referrals. We are a designated mental health facility by the Alabama Department of Mental Health certified. We are certified to take involuntary admissions. The decision regarding admission is made by a psychiatrist.