Western State Hospital, one of four state-operated or state-supported acute psychiatric facilities in Kentucky, is a 165-bed free-standing hospital with a median length of stay of six days for new admissions. Approximately 690 employees treat approximately 2,100 adults during the course of a year. While the pandemic initially affected the hospital, we have been able to maintain a COVID-free status among our patients, and a staff positivity rate of <.05% since late May/early June of 2020. Testing is readily available in Kentucky, and specifically in Hopkinsville. The hospital has adequate PPE, provides Fit-Testing to all employees in patient care, provides eye protection, and provides ample soap, hand-washing areas, and hand sanitizer (thank you to the amazing distilleries in the state!). We have a unit designated to treat COVID-positive psychiatric patients when the need arises, and an active in-house testing and contact-tracing protocol. At this time, interns are not providing face-to-face in-person care, but are assessing and treating patients through telehealth platforms.
While at Western State Hospital, doctoral interns gain firsthand experience in working with patients who struggle with severe and persistent mental illness, and in understanding the operations, purposes, and ever-changing role of a state psychiatric facility. Interns participate in initial evaluations, psychological assessments, individual and group therapy sessions, development of positive behavioral supports, recovery team meetings, program development and evaluation, staff and community education, and consultation with other mental health professionals. Specialty training opportunities include geriatrics, multiple medical needs, substance abuse interventions, neuropsychological screening and assessment, and civil and criminal forensic assessment.
We do not currently work on a rotational model, but instead add experiences into the work week as interns become progressively competent and confident in their activities. During the COVID-19 state of emergency, most training activities will be via telehealth or virtual platforms. Primary on-site supervisor: Susan Redmond-Vaught, Ph.D.