| Our providers:
Gabriela Cherascu, MD
Janeta Tansey, M., PhD
Kathryn Gilligan, MD
Jason Wilson, LMT, ARNP
Ben Jaggers, ARNP
| Our Treatment Program
| Consultation Liaison Psychiatry
| Psychiatric Nurse Access
| Occupational Therapy
| Overnight Guest Lodging
| Endowment Fund
Mercy Iowa City offers the first psychiatric unit in Iowa that integrates evidence-based medicine, complementary healing methods, and a humane philosophy of care for the holistic treatment of mind, body, and spirit. It specializes in the care of patients needing short-term hospitalization for extreme mental distress.
Our psychiatric unit, 4 North, is:
- A safe space for voluntary patients. The unit is secured with restricted access to outsiders for the comfort and privacy of our patients.
- A healing space, where experienced clinicians assess each patient individually and customize an interdisciplinary treatment plan.
- A caring space, where we strengthen patients’ relationships of care and provide resources to help our community improve mental health services.
Our psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioner are all board-certified, have many years of experience in adult psychiatric care, and bring specialty training in such fields as:
- Geriatric psychiatry
- Psychosomatic medicine
- Cultural issues
- Professional and student wellness
We do not accept involuntary patients or those requiring acute detoxification.
Our Treatment Program
Our program integrates complementary medicine techniques alongside the traditional modalities of psychotherapy and medication management. These complementary techniques include mindfulness and meditation, yoga, therapeutic touch, biofeedback, and aesthetic and sensory therapies.
In our light-filled space, we enjoy activities that might include art, music, or guided imagery to encourage gentle self-awareness. Individual consultation with our many specialists occurs throughout the day; these include nutritionists, clinical pharmacists, occupational therapists, chaplains, psychatric nursing staff, and social workers--who particularly help prepare for smooth transitions back to the community.
In addition, medical hospitalists are in-house 24/7 to assist in co-managing acute medical conditions.
Visiting hours are until 8 p.m. daily. Overnight guest lodging is available on 3 Mercy North for family members that want to stay near their loved one.
Consultation Liaison Psychiatry
Our psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses are available to provide specialty consultations to Mercy's patients during their hospitalizations for medical, surgical and/or obstetrical treatments. The most common reasons that the medical team requests a psychiatric consultation include:
- Patients may have an existing psychiatric illness that requires specialty care while they are receiving medical-surgical treatments.
- The medical-surgical problem may be causing new psychiatric symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, or confusional states.
- Patients and their families are struggling to cope with the stress of the medical problems or treatments while in the hospital and would benefit from additional emotional support.
Our psychiatric nurses are frequently called to provide supportive counseling for patients who are struggling to manage the stress of illness, and our psychiatrists are available every day for specialty evaluations. We are very proud to work alongside all of Mercy's physicians and medical staff to support the emotional health of our patients, no matter what health concern brings them to our hospital.
Psychiatric Access Nurse Program
The psychiatric access nurse program began in the spring of 2010. These experienced mental health professionals see patients throughout the hospital who may have a history of a mental health diagnosis, or may be experiencing a life crisis that is causing them distress. They serve as a resource to other staff in the hospital, provide education to patients and staff, and are available for consultation as needed.
Shari Hebl, RN, HN-BC, is a registerd nurse and is a certified holistic stress management instructor and HeartMath practitioner. Science of the Heart provides a scientific basis to explain how and why the heart affects mental clarity, creativity, emotional balance, and personal effectiveness. Shari meets with clients to teach them techniques they can use anytime, anywhere through their lifetime to help achieve a sense of balance. HearthMath incorporates mental focus, deep breathing, and biofeedback through computer programs. Learn more about HeartMath programming.
Occupational therapists are an important part of the health care team. They focus on function, performance, and living a balanced life, involving self-care, work, and leisure. This balance of life helps patients and their families:
- increase independence in their life roles
- make changes to the environment to
- support their highest level of independence
Occupational therapists working in mental health settings are uniquely trained to analyze everyday activities and occupations, help or assist the person to set their goals, and provide therapeutic interventions to help meet their personalized goals.
Our Comfort Room
Mental distress can make it difficult to experience peace. That’s why Mercy’s physicians and occupational therapists have designed a “comfort room” focusing on sensory integration. Therapists may suggest the use of:
- a zero gravity chair with massage and heat
- weighted blankets or textures
- light, color, aroma, massage, sound and other multi-sensory tools
Patients will be able to explore these techniques to treat symptoms of anxiety, depression, agitation, and insomnia, as well as wellness and self.
The Mercy Hospital Foundation has created an endowment fund to support mental health care at Mercy. Holistic psychiatric cares have been underdeveloped and poorly reimbursed nationally and locally, but Mercy is committed to providing this care as part of our mission. Please consider supporting Mercy's mission to develop compassionate and comprehensive mental health care programming in our community by contacting the Mercy Foundation at 319-339-3657. There are many opportunities and ways to partner with us.
For a referral to our program, please speak with your physician or call Mercy On Call, seven days a week, 7 a.m. to midnight: 319-358-2767 or toll-free 1-800-358-2767.
For more information about Mercy psychiatrists:
Mercy Inpatient Psychiatry Brochure
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Institute of HeartMath