Autumn 2003
For Seniors with Mental Health Needs

Recently, your mother has changed. She’s always taken good care of her health, but now she won’t eat the foods she used to love, or get her hair done at the beauty parlor. She won’t take the medications prescribed for her high blood pressure. She’s grouchy—and sometimes combative. Even her favorite grandchild can’t raise a smile. She’s been diagnosed with severe depression.

You are not sure of your options, and you’re worried—maybe even feeling a little guilty. “Oh, no!” you think. “What do I do now?”

You can call the Psychiatric Inpatient Program at Bridgeport Hospital. Here you’ll find caregivers who are experts in treating older patients with mental health conditions.

The staff will answer your questions and help to soothe any fears or guilt you may be feeling. The nurse answering the phone will ask screening questions and will either direct you to the Emergency Department for a medical evaluation, or tell you to bring your mother in for admission to our Geriatric Psychiatric Inpatient Program.

The Geriatric Psychiatric Inpatient Program staff includes a board certified geriatric psychiatrist; a board certified geriatrician; internists; and registered nurses with certification in general psychiatry, geriatrics, and addictions. Other members include social workers; case managers; certified physical, occupational, speech, recreation, and art therapists; dieticians; pharmacists; and pastoral care providers.

“The special Geriatric Psychiatric unit is especially designed for seniors, with special shower facilities, hand rails, raised toilet seats, and other devices to help frail older people manage independently,” says Charles Morgan, MD, chairman of Psychiatry at Bridgeport Hospital. The goal of the program is to preserve and improve the patients’ well-being while caring for their psychiatric needs.

“The group therapy sessions are designed to help seniors continue to live as independently as possible, and to adapt to changes in lifestyle when necessary. For instance, we offer a sensory training program to help patients who have lost their sense of touch, taste, or smell, which affects memory,” Dr. Morgan adds.

Our goal in the Geriatric Psychiatric Inpatient Program is to treat your mother with the sensitivity and special care she needs and deserves, and get her back to her home as soon as we can!

To learn more about the Geriatric Psychiatric Inpatient Program at Bridgeport Hospital, please call 203-384-3292. For a referral to an expert physician, call Bridgeport Hospital Physician Referral at 888-357-2396.

Who Can Benefit from the Geriatric Psychiatric
Inpatient Program?

The Program can accept and treat seniors who have any of the following symptoms:

severe depression;

suicidal, homicidal, or combative behavior;

psychosis (hallucinations, hearing voices, etc); or

resisting treatment for a health condition because of an underlying psychiatric disorder.


Although not designed to treat dementia (mental confusion, Alzheimer’s), the Program can accept patients diagnosed with dementia if they are also experiencing any of the above symptoms. Based on symptoms and previous diagnoses, Program staff will determine if they can admit and help the patient, and if they can’t, they will help to find the right treatment program for him or her. Just call 384-3292.