Trinitas ribbon cutting

Trinitas Unveils Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities

TRMC is the only hospital in New Jersey to offer a designated unit for individuals living with intellectual/developmental disabilities and mental illness

Trinitas Regional Medical Center (TRMC) officially opened the Healthcare Foundation of NJ Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities last week. Based at the New Point Campus in Elizabeth, the new center expands TRMC’s inpatient behavioral health services for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) and co-occurring mental disorders to meet the specialized needs of this population.

TRMC has had a strong commitment to the needs of individuals with I/DD, operating 10 specialized inpatient beds. The new center will feature 12 new beds, increasing the hospital’s capacity to 22 beds and offers a continuum of care provided by a team that has training and experience caring for individuals who may need acute psychiatric hospitalization, medication management, crisis stabilization, psychiatric assessment, or behavioral assessment and planning. TRMC has been the only hospital in the state to offer a specialized unit for individuals living with I/DD and mental illness, for which adult psychiatric units are often not an appropriate setting.

“In order to meet the specialized needs of those with intellectual/developmental disabilities Trinitas needed to create an environment that was comfortable, inclusive, and suited for those with disabilities,” said Nancy DiLiegro, PhD, FACHE, president & CEO, TRMC. “The number of individuals with autism and other disabilities has grown across the state, and over the last few years, wait times have doubled and patients in need of care are being held up in emergency rooms or screening centers for days while waiting to be admitted to appropriate inpatient services.”

Loud and hectic environments can trigger negative behavior and can lead patients to decompensate. This can prolong stays and put individuals at greater risk. This new unit will allow individuals with special needs to have access to the appropriate inpatient care.

“It is so important that every population has access to care that best suits their physical and emotional needs, and the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities allows patients to receive that proper specialized care,” said Dr. Frank Ghinassi, senior vice president of the behavioral health and addiction services at RWJBarnabas Health and president and CEO of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care. “Individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families face enough struggle in their daily lives and being able to provide this population access to the mental healthcare they need and deserve is a significant step for communities and families across New Jersey.”

The Trinitas Foundation, the Healthcare Foundation of NJ (HFNJ), individual donors, and a number of corporations raised $3.3 Million to expand the services at TRMC and help individuals with I/DD and their families across the state. Now, more NJ families will have access to quality care with specialized doctors and a setting that is tailored to their individual needs.

“The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey has been a long-time supporter of Trinitas Regional Medical Center, RWJ Barnabas Health, and is proud to have provided a critical seed grant of $1M to fund the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities,” said Michael Schmidt, CEO/Executive Director of The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. “Given the tremendous need in our community, these additional beds and the accompanying services will provide individuals and families with the compassionate care that some of the most vulnerable members in our community deserve.”

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