STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. (WWLP) – A new unit to help the aging population has opened at Johnson Memorial Hospital.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday to announce the newly constructed Lillian “Dolly” Santilli Geriatric Wellness Pavilion. According to a news release from Trinity Health Of New England, the geriatric wellness unit is an effort to meet the needs of the aging population that is expected to increase by 16% over the next five years.

Often, patients in need of inpatient geriatric-psychiatric services are first seen in a hospital emergency department setting. Once they are stabilized, they are transferred for short-term inpatient care. At Johnson, these patients also benefit from a multi-disciplinary clinical team that utilizes a collaborative approach to care.

“With a significant increase in the number of older adults anticipated in our service area in the coming years, the need for this new unit is undeniable,” said Dr. Edna N. Rodríguez, LP-PsyD, Director of Behavioral Health, Johnson Memorial Hospital. “If left untreated, behavioral health disorders in older adults can lead to diminished functioning, substance use disorder, poor quality of life, and increased mortality, as well as slower healing from physical ailments. The new unit will not only serve this vulnerable patient population, but it will also provide respite for their loved ones who want the best possible care for their seniors.”

“The opening of the new Lillian “Dolly” Santilli Geriatric Wellness Pavilion is representative of Johnson Memorial Hospital’s commitment to serving as a transforming, healing presence in the local community,” said Stuart Rosenberg, M.B.A., President, Johnson Memorial Hospital. “We are grateful to our Johnson colleagues who worked tirelessly to support our vision for this unit, and we are confident that their clinical expertise and caring attitude will truly benefit this vulnerable patient population.”