UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital’s Newly Renovated Diagnostic Evaluation Center is a Safe Space for Patients

By: Taylor Andres

UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital will soon open the doors to its newly remodeled Diagnostic Evaluation Center (DEC) — a place for people and families to go for emergency psychiatric care and evaluation.

The purpose of the redesign was to create a safe space and environment where people of all ages and backgrounds can feel comfortable seeking mental health care.

UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital Unveils New Diagnostic Evaluation Center

“Western Psych is here to support the community and those patients who are experiencing a mental health issue. We want you to come if you need care, and we want patients to feel very safe and have a good patient experience while they’re here because we care about our community,” said Camellia Herisko, D.N.P., M.S.N., R.N., P.M.H.C.N.S.-B.C., C.R.N.P., chief nursing officer, vice president of Operations and Patient Care Services at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. “We want to take exceptional care of our behavioral health patients.”

For many people, seeking help for mental health concerns can feel “embarrassing” or “taboo,” which can be a major deterrent to seeking care, even when it is seriously needed.

“We are here to break down the barriers that keep many people from seeking the care they need,” said Deborah Brodine, president of UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. “One in five adults has some sort of mental illness and more than half of those will have an episode that requires treatment, whether it is related to anxiety, depression, trauma or something more signifigant.”

The renovations relocated the DEC from the first floor to the fifth floor and gave UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital the opportunity to address some of the concerns that consumers, patients and families expressed after visiting. Every part of the new DEC was designed to provide the best patient experience possible. There are now three separate waiting areas specific to different needs, including a pediatric and adolescent waiting area known as the “pediatric milieu,” an adult area for concerns related to depression and anxiety, and an acute waiting room for patients who may be struggling to control their symptoms or behaviors.

Creative details added to the renovated DEC include vibrant paint colors, art-covered walls, features for playing soothing music and a relaxing water bubble installation. Much of the artwork carries themes of inclusion and is intended to welcome patients into the space.

“We take care of a very diverse population. Behavioral health and who it afflicts is not specific to any one population or group of patients and so we really wanted to put a lot of diversity into the artwork and murals throughout the evaluation center,” said Herisko.

For further information on the behavioral health services and resources available at UPMC visit UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital.