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COQUILLE — Coquille Valley Hospital recently launched a new program aimed at assisting elderly patients struggling with a number of behavioral health issues heal through group counseling.

The “Senior Life Solutions” program, which began taking patients in December, is designed to help meet the needs of adults older than 65 who struggle with a variety of issues including depression and anxiety.

The group tackles problems often found in elderly populations such as the loss of a spouse or close family member, major life changes and loneliness as well as a number of other age-related concerns.

“Group therapy has proven to be highly effective.  It gives patients the opportunity to create relationships with other people who may be facing similar life challenges,” said registered nurse and program director for Senior Life Solutions Susan Breuer in a press release. "It is amazing to see the positive impact Senior Life Solutions has on the quality of life for our patients, their caregivers, and families.”

According to Breuer, the group meets approximately three times a week at the hospital and each person that joins is given their own individual assessment.  As of now, its program staff includes a board-certified psychiatrist, licensed social workers, a registered nurse and other healthcare professionals.

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Coquille Valley Hospital CEO Jeffrey Lang said the program works to help meet a need within the community as health behavioral services as a whole is generally lacking throughout the South Coast.

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“It’s a wonderful program to help people afflicted with those types of conditions,” he said. “It’s a very supportive environment that helps people that are dealing with similar issues be able to overcome those issues.”

In addition to a focusing on improving access to behavioral health services in the area, Lang also mentioned exploring various ways the hospital can help patients with chronic conditions manage their health outside the typical clinical, hospital or emergency room setting.  

He also said the hospital has been working on recruitment efforts to attract more healthcare professionals to Coquille. In the past year and half, its staff has grown as its added a new general surgeon and three family-practice physicians.

“We are constantly working on bringing new specialists to the area to take care of our population,” said Lang. “We want to increase the amount of specialty care that is provided at the hospital primarily within its surgical services. We have orthopedic and general surgery, but we would also like to see other specialties in our communities so that our patients don’t have to travel far distances.”

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.

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