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SUN Behavioral Delaware expands telehealth services during COVID-19 pandemic

Delaware News Desk
Milford Beacon

SUN Behavioral Delaware, part of a network of community hospitals working to solve the unmet needs of those with mental illness and substance use disorders, is expanding its telehealth services in response to the COVID-19 national emergency.

Beginning immediately, individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, mental health or substance use-related issues can receive a level-of-care telehealth consultation from the safety of their own homes. The service is open to all Delmarva-area residents age 13 and older and appointments are available everyday from 9 a.m. ­to 5 p.m. with plans to extend hours soon.

Individuals with video capabilities via laptop, cellphone or tablet can register at sunbehavioral.com/delaware/telehealth-consultation. Once they fill out a brief patient information form, they’ll be connected to a behavioral health specialist who will call to schedule a time for a private, video chat compliant with privacy laws and consultation. Telehealth consultations are conducted using the Zoom app.

“The coronavirus emergency continues to present rapidly changing challenges for us all,” said Steve Page, SUN Behavioral Health president and CEO. “Stress and anxiety are running high across the nation and in our community, and the need for at-home mental health care has never been greater. With Delaware under a stay-at-home quarantine order, telehealth consultations will allow us to treat some of our most vulnerable neighbors, whether or not they are a current patient of SUN Delaware. These are unprecedented times and this is a way for our team to do our part to help.”

Based on a patient’s level of care assessment either through a telehealth consultation or an in-person consultation, a customized treatment program is developed. If applicable, patients can choose to continue their outpatient care from the safety of home by accessing SUN’s new Telehealth Outpatient Program, which includes two specific care levels: Partial Hospitalization Program, for up to six hours of clinical programming per day for five days per week; and Intensive Outpatient Program, for up to three hours of clinical programming per day three to five days per week.

“While we’re expanding our telehealth services, we’ve also added more safety protocols to ensure our patients and staff stay healthy and our facilities remain free of the virus,” added Lance Folske, SUN Behavioral Health senior vice president of operations. “Our physical hospitals continue to remain open 24 hours a day for those who need us most, and we’re maintaining proper social distancing, have heightened infection screenings for patients and eliminated all casual visitation. We’re doing everything we can do to serve our community and keep everyone as safe as possible while we do it.”

Telehealth consultations are not meant for psychiatric emergencies. In case of psychiatric emergency, call 911, go to the nearest emergency room or call SUN directly at 604-5600.

For more, visit sunbehavioral.com.