The Omaha VA Medical Center has temporarily reduced the number of available beds in its psychiatric intensive care unit.
The 12-bed unit now has four patients who need “high-intensity care until we get them stabilized,” said Larry Krafka, director of mental health nursing for the VA's Nebraska-Western Iowa health care system. Those four patients will be the only ones in the unit until the end of December or early January, he said.
The goal, he said, is to “provide safety to our veteran patients and also to provide safety to my nursing staff.”
The unit's average daily census normally is 11, Krafka said. Most of the time, he said, there's only one patient in the unit who requires the kind of one-to-one care that the four patients need.
Veterans who come to the VA med center who are determined to need inpatient psychiatric care will be referred to other VA facilities in Iowa, South Dakota or Minnesota or to centers in Omaha that provide such care, he said.