Renovated Phoenix VA mental health care units safer, more welcoming

Jan 15, 2020, 4:55 AM | Updated: 10:54 am
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)...
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX — Renovations were made to the inpatient mental health care units at the Phoenix VA Medical Center to make the environment safer and more welcoming for veterans.

“We’ve refreshed the units with a focus on making sure that we have much more of a healing and welcoming environment for veterans that need to have an in-patient mental health stay,” said Dr. Alyshia Smith, interim medical director at the Phoenix VA.

More than $1 million was spent on the renovations, which Smith said were done with safety and security in mind.

The beds are bolted down, the bathroom doors are made out of Styrofoam material, and the sinks and toilet fixtures have sloping surfaces. The televisions are also encased in glass, the artwork that hangs on the walls have rounded edges and the furniture is heavy to lift.

Technology was also updated to increase security. The two units, which house 48 beds in total, are in a highly-secure section of the building.

“We want to really reduce any risk points while making sure that the environment is much more healing,” Smith said.

She also pointed to renovations that were done to make veterans feel that sense of healing, including artwork consisting of nature and landscape portraits and a women’s day room.

The first unit was renovated a few months ago. Renovations for the second unit were completed this week.

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Renovated Phoenix VA mental health care units safer, more welcoming