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1.24.2012

Medical Psychiatric Unit at UMH Brings Specialized Care to Patients

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Medicine have integrated services, opening the Medical Psychiatric Unit at University of Miami Hospital — the only medical psychiatry unit in South Florida.

The 10-bed specialty unit offers highly specialized inpatient care for patients with acute dual medical and psychiatric diagnoses and is dedicated to treating patients who cannot be admitted to a general psychiatric unit because of complex medical needs, such as telemetry, intravenous fluids, or oxygen supplementation, and likewise cannot receive optimal care on a standard medicine unit because of psychiatric symptoms, such as suicide risk, psychosis, cognitive dysfunction or delirium.

Located on the 6 North floor at UMH, the unit is staffed by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including Joel Danisi, M.D., associate professor of medicine (pending rank), and Clara L. Alvarez Villalba, M.D., assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences in the Division of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry.

The unit provides assessment and management of dementia with behavioral problems, substance overdose or withdrawal syndromes, infection or electrolyte imbalances and delirium, nutritional disorders and altered mental status, cardiovascular disease and anxiety or depression, poly-pharmacy, social and family issues, advance directives, discharge planning, ethics, and legal issues. The comprehensive, multidimensional evaluation is particularly designed for patients with complex debilitating illnesses and significant functional decline.

The plan of care combines treatment, rehabilitation, health promotion, social service interventions and the commitment of key personnel, including physician, nursing, social work and rehabilitation staff, as well as administrative support, to optimize patients’ health, function, and ability to live with the greatest degree of independence.

For referrals, please call the physician referral line at 305-689-5000. International patients should call 305-243-9100, or visit the UHealth International website. The Medical Psychiatric Unit also can be reached by calling 305-689-5511 or by fax at 305-689-4673.

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