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).

Referrals to the Geropsychiatric Unit at Desert Springs Hospital

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.

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.

Watch this video to learn more about our services:

Find a Doctor

If you need a referral to a geriatric psychiatrist or other physician at Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center, call our free physician referral service at 702-388-4888.

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

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

What Makes Us Unique

We provide specialized treatment in a setting that's conducive to the successful care and recovery of our patients. We accept Medicare and FSS Medicaid.


The Geropsychiatric Unit features 32 private rooms on a dedicated floor of the hospital. Each room has a view of either the Las Vegas strip or the surrounding mountains. Full renovation of the unit is expected to be completed by January 2020. We only accept patients age 55 and older.

The unit is located within Desert Springs Hospital, which means patients have direct access to other services such as emergency, radiology, and rehabilitation. There's a pharmacy within the hospital, which can provide patients with 30 days of medications. There are also chaplains available to patients. Desert Springs is a training hospital for social work students and is part of the larger Valley Health System.


All our rooms comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. Patients sleep in adjustable beds and there's a call light in every room.


Our staff is highly qualified and includes registered nurses (RN), licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), RN as utilization review and discharge planners, certified therapeutic recreation specialists (CTRS) and certified nursing assistants (CNA). There is an RN on every shift, and we have a 9:1 nurse to patient ratio. CNAs assist the RNs, and we have a 5:1 CNA to patient ratio. Patients can receive physical therapy and occupational therapy during admission without leaving the unit.

Services We Provide

  • Fast Path process for nursing home, assisted living facility, independent living and skilled nursing facility
  • Every patient selects their menu for the day                 
  • Two snacks provided daily                                                
  • Non-denominational religious service weekly
  • Visitation twice daily in the morning and afternoon on weekdays
  • Full day visitation on weekends
  • Phone times daily; long distance charges covered
  • Attend court via telemed
  • Dedicated tub room                                        
  • Laundry completed on the unit            
  • Recreational therapy that includes art, music, biblio, journaling and media
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), SFB-B and reminiscent as therapy modalities
  • Use ground medical transport (GMT) for self-discharge transportation; never use a taxi, Uber, or other ride services

As Seen on FOX5 News

The Impact of a Pandemic on Mental Health

Dealing With Emotions After a Tragic Event