What is a Behavioral Unit?

If we want to understand what a Behavioral Unit is, we must first understand what behavioral health is. In the simplest of terms, behavior health is a term that covers everything from mental and emotional health—how we cope with day-to-day stressors, to the treatment of mental health issues like depression or personality disorder, as well as substance use disorder and other addictive behaviors.

Now that we know what behavioral health is referring to, we can better figure out and understand what it is that a behavioral unit does. The mission of a behavioral unit is to both maximize continuity of care and long-term rehab benefits for residents, while actively involving and educating care providers before, during and after treatment. It is also specialized to both stabilize and modify behaviors that are caused by a neurological impairment, which has been present for over 30 days and hasn’t gotten better with attempts at other treatments or interventions.

The units are also designed to give residents a safe and therapeutic environment, and many consist of single-occupancy rooms, an exercise room, and a room for quieting down periods. The overall design of the facility is suited to this behavioral health program, and is made up of several medical, behavioral, counseling, recreation, exercise, and other services that help the residents to control or redirect behavior through interventions, and may be accessible via an authorized keypad or doorbell.

The staff of the unit are both specially trained and dedicated to their work so that they can provide direct services and maintain small group activities and one-on-one care. Such staff may include a program coordinator; specialized behavioral care physician, qualified psychiatric specialist; Master’s-prepared social workers; therapeutic recreation specialist, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nurses’ assistants.

The length of time a person stays on a behavioral unit is determined by the response to treatment, but many remain for at least a period of six months.