Thursday, July 30, 2009
Education, support, therapy available at senior care facility
By SUE WATSON
Aging can present a new set of challenges to adults and their families and friends.
The challenges can be overwhelming to some families, as well as to the individual whose health status changes, and can be expressed emotionally, mentally and behaviorally, according to Judith R. Owens, director of the Senior Care Unit at Alliance HealthCare System in Holly Springs.
Since 1999, the Senior Care Unit has served 1,828 patients. The current team of professionals at the unit are led by psychiatrist Subbu Rayudu, M.D., who provides individualized treatment planning to treat disorders of anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, confusion, unresolved grief, combative behavior, delusions, hallucinations, changes in sleep pattern, inability to concentrate, thoughts of death or suicide, loss of interest in activities and energy, social withdrawal, poor appetite, overeating, weight gain or loss and medication compliance.
Dr. Rayudu, the only psychiatrist working in Holly Springs, has been with Alliance 15 years as well as having worked a private practice serving counties in North Mississippi.
“I work in the community with all age groups from clients as young as five years old and as old as 103,” she said. “I've worked as a primary care physician in North Mississippi from DeSoto County all the way down to Grenada, prior to going into residency in psychiatry.”
Dr. Rayudu, who has the outpatient practice, Magnolia Associates, in Batesville, operates a satellite clinic in Holly Springs. Her Holly Springs office is located at 1430 Highway 4 East, next door to the radio station. She sees patients on an outpatient basis on Mondays in Holly Springs and on an inpatient basis three days a week in the city. Dr. Rayudu is available for consultation 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 662-563-8703, the number serving both the Batesville and Holly Springs offices.
When patients need hospitalization for emotional needs, she treats them in the Alliance Hospital setting and follows them through until discharge.
“I’ve been very involved with this hospital and with Dr. Williams and I think we have the same vision for this community,” Dr. Rayudu said. “We want to expand psychiatric services for all age groups.”
Dr. Rayudu works with individuals with alcohol and drug and chemical dependency issues as well as the aged. She has a special leaning and interest in working with women’s issues.
“I work with women who have domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse issues and mood disorders which affect the female population throughout their life cycle, with great emphasis towards stable families,” she said.
She believes women are the “backbone” of family stability.
“My philosophy is to educate the community about emotional well-being and awareness,” she said. “I am working to develop support groups for the community’s needs. We want to spread the awareness of services here for senior care and the continuity of services we offer. We want to embrace the community as far as progress is concerned.”
Dr. Rayudu is a 1988 graduate of the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Memphis and is certified in psychiatry.
Owens said Dr. Rayudu and the professionals at the unit recognize that social stigma is associated with a person receiving mental health services. Alliance tries to help the patient overcome their reluctance to get help by getting to know the patient and family before an admission to the unit which can last from 8-10 days while the patient receives therapy.
“We provide group therapy for individuals experiencing similar physical and mental challenges to help them cope and to receive feedback from their peers and the facilitators,” Owens said. “Individuals who require more one-on-one treatment receive individual counseling.”
Senior citizens are not the only individuals who need assistance with life changes, she said.
Owens said anyone can make a referral to Alliance’s Senior Care Unit.
A professional will make a home visit for a patient who is experiencing memory, mood, or behavioral changes and make a determination if inpatient therapy would be helpful, she said.
Owens said Alliance attempts to remove the social stigma associated with seeking psychological help.
“Educating individuals and families about the dynamics of not receiving services and its consequences is crucial,” she said. “Proper treatment of individuals experiencing the mentioned chronic mental, physical and psychological changes can be a benefit to the patient as well as the family to help improve their quality of life.”
All services are covered by Medicare, Owens said.
“If you or anyone you know, knows someone experiencing emotional or behavioral, changes or memory loss, please call Alliance HealthCare System. We can help.”
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