Hospital Finishes Move to New Location

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) -- 200 mental health patients at Western State Hospital will be sleeping in new beds Tuesday night.

Those patients were moved into the hospital's new building Tuesday and for some, the move is more than a makeover.

"We had sheriffs driving up on Friday afternoon, unloading a carload. Maybe two of them were mentally ill, and two were the town drunks the sheriff wanted to get rid of," said John Beghtol, the community services director.

A Western State Hospital employee for 36 years, Beghtol has seen it all.

"For me, I've been able to experience the entire run of what mental health care has been. At its worst, and now at its best," said Beghtol.

The hospital moved patients out of the old hospital and into the new one just down the road.

Inside the command center, the four-hour move went smoothly.

"It has gone extremely well. We had no injuries, we didn't lose anybody, we had no particular difficulty," said Dr. Jack Barber, the hospital director.

Barber said a lot of factors were out of their control, but they planned for what they could.

"We've been planning this for the best part of a year. And I think that's paid off this morning. It went very well," said Barber.

The next task, will be settling in to a new building.

For Beghtol, that serves as a metaphor for the evolution of mental health care over the years.

"We've actually created a big learning community, where staff and patients are - and we're all learning, trying to understand how can we give people a more meaningful life?" said Beghtol.

Staff members at the hospital look forward to getting things back to normal.

Beghtol says that will start Thursday when the hospital's classes start back up again.


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