Local News

Dix patients to move to new hospital next month

Posted September 18, 2008 10:31 a.m. EDT
Updated September 18, 2008 2:17 p.m. EDT

— Adult patients at Dorothea Dix Hospital will begin moving to Central Regional Hospital in Butner on Oct. 1, state officials said Thursday.

The moves will occur over eight days. Hospital staff, patients and families will be notified of details over the next few days, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dempsey Benton said.

“I am satisfied that the time has come to move forward with completing the merger of Dorothea Dix Hospital and John Umstead Hospital into the new Central Regional Hospital,” Benton said in a statement. “It is our conclusion, as well as that of an independent outside reviewer, that the merger is not only safe, but poses fewer risks than leaving the facilities as separate entities.”

Officials had delayed moving patients several times over the past year to address safety concerns at the new hospital.

The move to Butner will be completed in stages, starting with the geropsychiatry and research units on Oct. 1. All new patients in the long-term care unit, or CTU, will go directly to CRH after Oct. 1, and current Dix CTU patients and staff will be moved on Oct. 6-7.

The final group to move will be the Dix medium and maximum forensic unit, which is scheduled for Oct. 8.

About 170 patients will be relocated, and 136 children and adolescent patients will remain at the Dix campus awhile longer.

Planning has been under way for several months to assure that patients’ needs are addressed and that the move is being undertaken with maximum safety conditions, Benton said.

A 60-bed Dix-Wake County unit on the Raleigh campus will become operational at the completion of the transition of Dix patients to the new Granville County hospital, he said. The unit is expected to have a staff of 175 and will be located in the McBryde Building on the Dix campus.

CRH has been occupied and in operation since July 21, when 200 patients and staff from Umstead Hospital in Butner moved into the new facility.

As of Oct. 1, all adult admissions will be sent to CRH, Benton said. The Dix child and adolescent unit will remain open until renovations are completed to house the unit at the CRH campus, which is scheduled for Dec. 1.

Whether a patient is treated at the Wake unit or at CRH in the future will depend on his or her physical and mental condition, the home area of the patient and the travel distance for the patient and the patient’s family, he said.

A shuttle service for about 170 Raleigh-based employees will also begin on Oct. 1. It will run between Raleigh and Butner several times a day and will initially be free for staff.

“The shuttle will leave the Dix campus one hour and 15 minutes before the start of a shift and will leave the Butner campus 15 minutes after a shift ends,” Benton said.