Bowen Opens New Inpatient Unit

In its 55 years of existence, Bowen Center has never been bigger.
The mental health services agency, which serves 10 counties in Northeast Indiana, including Kosciusko County, is expanding its existing facilities in Columbia City and Fort Wayne.
Two years ago, they constructed a new corporate office in Warsaw.
And the company now employs 1,100 people – the most ever – throughout its network, according to President and CEO Kurt Carlson.
On top of that, Bowen now works with all school districts in Kosciusko County as well as others in Whitley and Wabash counties in a concerted effort to address mental health issues in children before conditions grow worse.
“We just continue to grow,” Carlson said Wednesday.
The agency’s newest evidence of growth was celebrated Wednesday in Pierceton where the agency will soon open its new inpatient short-term care facility on Pequignot Drive just northeast of the U.S. 30 and Ind. 13.
The 16-bed facility will replace Bowen’s existing inpatient facility, which is on the medical campus near Kosciusko Community Hospital, Warsaw.
Bowen’s decision to open a new facility and move it nine miles to the east provides a more centralized location for its network, Carlson said.
The secured facility is considered to be state of the art. It has a large waiting area outside of the reception area that allows for privacy for family and friends who might be admitting somebody.
The building is similar in size to the existing inpatient facility, but is designed with more efficiencies, Carlson said.
The floor plan uses a more modern approach to housing by designing a handful of residential pods that can accommodate different groups of patients based on their types of problems and gender. Pods can also be closed off if they’re not being used.
The facility also includes a large, open day room that takes advantage of plenty of natural light, and has a closed-off patio area. A nurses station is centrally located near sleeping rooms as well as the kitchen and dining area.
The new building also has much office and counseling space.
Much of building is painted in muted natural tones and is a far cry from the old institutional facilities with the antiquated septic-white decor that often included long sterile hallways.
“We wanted to create an environment where people who have been through very difficult situations are going to feel more comfortable. You’re better able to deal with stress and life changes in those situations,” said Dr. Tanner Babb, a member of the Bowen Center board of directors who teaches psychology at Huntington University.
The inpatient facility is only intended to serve people for on average two or three days at a time before personnel determine the next step in the treatment process.
Outpatient services, as well as group home programs, involve a vast majority of Bowen’s workload.
Of the 25,000 people served by Bowen in 2015, only about 1,000 used inpatient services, Carslon said.
Bowen Center officials, as well and community leaders, enjoyed refreshments and tours of the building before a ribbon-cutting Wednesday evening.
Bowen Center expected to complete work on the building and have it open by early October, Carlson said.

Story By: Dan Spalding, Times Union