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St. Luke's Opens New Older Adult Behavioral Unit at Gnaden Huetten
December 06, 2018

St. Luke’s University Health Network has expanded its behavioral health services in Carbon County, opening a new Older Adult Behavioral Health Unit at its Gnaden Huetten campus at 211 N. 12th Street in Lehighton.

The new unit has 20 inpatient beds for individuals 55 and older and is located in space in the former Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital that was completely renovated for this purpose. St. Luke’s merged with Blue Mountain Health System, which included Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton hospitals, in the fall of 2017.

“St. Luke’s University Health Network is proud of its rich tradition of providing superior care for patients with behavioral health diagnoses since our founding in 1872,” said Christina Zelko Bennick, Vice President of the BHU service line. “Certainly, the complexity and depth of the specialty has changed – but thanks to generations of outstanding behavioral health professionals and their commitment to quality and compassionate care, St Luke’s continues to play a leadership role in providing superior services to our communities.”

The behavioral health unit has an interdisciplinary treatment team that includes a psychiatrist with special training in treating geriatric patients, nurses, mental health technicians, case managers and activity therapists. The inpatient unit provides personalized treatment for mental illness including prolonged depression, delusions or hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. The program combines medical and psychological aspects of treatment for the best outcomes for each patient in a supportive and secured setting 24-hours-a-day. 

The inpatient unit for older adults is in addition to our 22-bed adult unit that provides care to patients 18 to 54 years of age. A total of 176 inpatient behavioral health beds are in service throughout the Network. They are located at the Sacred Heart, Quakertown and Gnaden Huetten campuses.

Our team of highly skilled professionals are well-versed on the unique needs of senior care,” Zelko Bennick added. “This project demonstrates the commitment of our Network to our behavioral health patients, staff and providers as well as our ongoing investment in the local community.”

Big Jump in Patient Satisfaction at Palmerton ER

St. Luke’s is also improving patient satisfaction with its emergency services in Carbon County. Its efforts have been recognized by Press Ganey, a patient experience company based in South Bend, Indiana. Since the summer, St. Luke’s Palmerton Hospital’s Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores for its emergency room have increased by 20 percent, noted Marsha Moyer, Patient Care Manager for Palmerton and Gnaden Huetten. “Our scores show that we are making significant progress and in a short time,” she said.


About St. Luke’s

Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 14,000 employees providing services at 10 hospitals and more than 300 outpatient sites.  With annual net revenue greater than $2 billion, the Network’s service area includes 10 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey.  Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania.  In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first and only regional medical school campus.  It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 28 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 226 residents and fellows.  St. Luke’s is the only health care system in central-eastern Pennsylvania to earn Medicare’s five-star rating (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction.  St. Luke’s has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health (formerly Truven Health Analytics) repeatedly – six times total and four years in a row including 2018.  It has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program.  Utilizing the EPIC electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information.  St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.