Elliot Health System Turns More Attention to Behavioral Health with Addition of New Beds


Elliot Health System treats the highest number of behavioral health patients in New Hampshire seeking care through the Emergency Department. Many times, these patients need to be admitted to an inpatient psychiatric setting. With a growing need for these inpatient behavioral health services in southern New Hampshire, The Elliot is adding four new beds to their Pathways behavioral health unit.

“We saw an increase in the volume of behavioral health patients waiting for inpatient beds in our Emergency Department daily. So, we decided to increase bed capacity within the behavioral health department right here at The Elliot in order to respond to the needs of our community,” Andria Dobberstein, MSN, RN, Director of Behavioral Health at Elliot Health System, says. 

Leadership looked at the space in Pathways—the adult inpatient behavioral health unit—and determined there was space for four additional beds. After receiving approval from CMS within three weeks, the project moved quickly with the support of SolutionHealth’s leadership team, the Pathways team, and Facilities. 

“Adding beds onto the Pathways unit allows us to increase access to the most appropriate level of care for patients awaiting an inpatient psychiatric bed in our ED. This will initiate treatment in a timelier manner and allow the patient to begin their recovery process sooner, while staying located within their community,” Dobberstein explains.

The addition of beds will also open up beds in the Emergency Department for patients that require emergency care.

“We are proud and humbled to be able to provide services to our community members with behavioral health needs during some of the most difficult circumstances of their lives,” Dobberstein states.

The Elliot offers an array of hospital-based behavioral health services:

  • Pathways – a 16-bed adult involuntary inpatient behavioral health unit.
  • GPU – a 29-bed geriatric psychiatric unit accepting patients with co-occurring diagnoses of dementia, and with significant medical co-morbidities. The GPU is also able to admit patients under an involuntary status.  
  • PEP – a 6-bed psychiatry emergency program, which provides a safe and therapeutic environment located within the Emergency Department.
  • BERT – The Elliot’s Behavioral Emergency Response Team, which is a dedicated consultation service that provides support to the care of patients that have been admitted for medical reasons who also have behavioral health needs.

Dobberstein adds, “As the Director of Behavioral Health, I am so thankful for the resources Elliot Hospital has dedicated to growing and improving the delivery of behavioral health services. I love working here because I truly believe and feel that providing high-quality behavioral health services to our community is one of the highest priorities of The Elliot.”