Memphis Mental Health Institute: Memphis, Tennessee

Behavioral Healthcare Executive, April 2008 | Go to article overview

Memphis Mental Health Institute: Memphis, Tennessee


The new Memphis Mental Health Institute (MMHI) has 75 acute psychiatric beds for short-term stays (less than three weeks). The 103,000-square-foot, three-floor facility opened October 1 and replaces an outdated, larger-than-needed building constructed in 1962.

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On MMHI's first floor are offices for staff development and administration, the admissions department, the procurement department, and a courtroom. The second floor includes a 25-bed patient unit and the 10-room treatment mall/learning center. The third floor includes two 25-bed patient units. Circular nurses' stations provide direct views into T-shaped patient units; in contrast, the previous facility was based on a double-corridor "racetrack" design that did not afford direct observation of patient rooms and activity areas from central nurses' stations.

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MMHI offers a calm and therapeutic atmosphere. Each unit has unique color themes that help to create a sense of place for patients and improve way-finding throughout each floor. The interior color palette reflects organic hues, with shades of soft blue, green, and yellow. The designers aimed to capture as much daylight as possible, and patients have access to a secure outdoor garden courtyard.

A glass hallway connects MMHI to the adjacent Regional Medical Center (the MED), giving the psychiatric facility access to medical and support services such as lab, radiology, dietary, and laundry functions. …

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