Retreat: Caregivers sensative as professionals and as people

BRATTLEBORO — As a board member of the Brattleboro Retreat, I have had the opportunity to attend medical staff meetings several times a year.

What has always impressed me at these meetings is the dedication of the psychiatrists as physicians, their commitment to providing excellent clinical care for their patients, and their willingness to share ideas in the service of improving patient care.

Equally impressive is how much they appreciate working in a collegial, professional environment, where not only they, but the social workers, the nurses, and the mental health workers see patient care as a team effort.

At a recent joint board and medical staff meeting, board members asked the psychiatrists to share their experiences with the psychiatric care they deliver at the Retreat. While protecting individual patient confidentiality, they spoke so compassionately about the courage of their patients struggling with profound mental illness seeking a path back to health.

As I listened, I was struck by the sensitivity of these caregivers to the needs of their patients.

At the end of the meeting, I left with the vision of Dr. William Knorr, president of the medical staff, recounting the story of a young patient telling him that she was no longer living with profound depression due to his care. She stated that his providing a salsa dance lesson to the patients on the adolescent inpatient unit was the moment in which she knew she would begin to heal.

Dr. Knorr, who is quadruple-boarded in pediatrics, adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and addiction psychiatry, provides an inspiration for patients in so many ways, not only as a doctor but also as an individual.

Vermont is indeed fortunate to have a first-rate psychiatric hospital with highly qualified, caring professionals where what matters most is the mental health of the patients.

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