Mental Health Care for Seniors

As we age, physical changes occur in the body. But mental changes can occur as well that need special attention and care.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 20 percent of people age 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern, but nearly one in three of those seniors do not receive treatment. The most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment and mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder). 

The Geropsychiatric Unit at Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center is a 32-bed secured treatment area dedicated to older adults suffering from mental health issues. 

Admission Criteria and Process

Candidates for admission to The Geropsychiatric Unit at Desert Springs Hospital include seniors who are experiencing emotional or cognitive problems. Additionally, patients who are experiencing an acute change in behavior may also be assessed and treated for a medical condition that could be complicating their recovery. Among the conditions considered are:

  • A diagnosis of early and mid-stage dementia that renders the patient unable to negotiate their current environment, including dementia with depression, psychosis or other co-morbid psychiatric disorder.
  • Cognitive limitations resulting in psychological and/or behavioral impairment
  • Being a potential danger to themselves or others because of their mental condition
  • Acute disabling symptoms, such as impaired reality, bizarre behavior or severe depression
  • Impaired functioning attributable to a psychiatric disorder which is of sufficient intensity to substantially interfere with ordinary demands of person's environment, including social, familial, educational or occupational

Referrals to the Geropsychiatric Unit at Desert Springs Hospital are accepted 24 hours per day, seven days a week, at 702-894-5508. The patient's name, date of birth, presenting problem and insurance information will be requested. A staff member will meet the patient at the hospital or at another location to complete a preadmission assessment.

Referrals can be accepted from patients themselves or their loved ones, physicians, emergency departments, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. 

Medicare, Medicaid and other health insurance plans typically cover inpatient psychiatric care. The intake coordinator can answer questions about admission and insurance. 

What to Expect 

Once admitted, patients in the Geropsychiatric Unit are treated by an interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, case managers, rehabilitation therapists and mental health technicians. Each patient receives 24-hour nursing care and an individualized treatment plan of care. While in the unit, patients will: 

  • Work as an individual and in groups to address goal setting, coping strategies, stress management and problem solving skills that improve perceptions of themselves and others
  • Be educated to help address specific medical and psychiatric needs — family involvement is strongly encouraged
  • Receive medication management if needed, with an emphasis on safe and effective use
If you need a referral to a geriatric psychiatrist or other physician at Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center, call our free Direct Doctors Plus® referral service at 702-388-4888