First-of-its-kind Iowa mental health facility opening in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

First-of-its-kind Iowa mental health facility opening in Dubuque

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A first-of-its-kind program focusing on the mental health crisis is set to open in eastern Iowa.

Hillcrest Family Services will add a mental health unit at its location on Seippel Road in Dubuque.

The program will provide care in-between a hospital stay and going home.

 "If somebody has surgery and they still need time to recuperate, they may go to a skilled nursing facility which is less than the acute level of care. But this will be the first unit in the state of Iowa to provide a similar level of care for those who don't need acute hospitalization due to mental illness," said Hillcrest Family Services President & CEO, Julie Heiderscheit.

Although the facility only treats adults, it hopes the added beds will free up hospital beds for mental health patients of all ages that are in dire need of care, as well as provide help for those who don't qualify for hospitalization.

"People that have had unfortunate circumstances happen to themselves or family members because they felt they needed mental health assistance and there weren't beds available, or they did not meet the admission criteria," said Heiderscheit.

The program's director, Heather Heins, says it will help patients transition back home.

"We will help them set up services, like I mentioned before, along with coping skills, they will be working with the nurse and the nurse practitioner on med adjustments if needed," said Heins.

The Subacute Program will have 24/7 staff to provide patients with around-the-clock care. It's set to open in early March.

The is the first program in the state, but Hillcrest says other organizations are working to set up similar services across the state.

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