Fit Louisville


Greater Louisville Health Guide is a directory and resource guide to health providers and services in Louisville, Kentucky. Includes listings of area doctors and dentists, hospitals, nursing homes and emergency care.

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Page 15 of 92

F I T 2 0 1 5 - 2 0 1 6 1 3 ver the past 30 years, Ora Frankel has practiced psychiatry in just about every possible setting: state hospitals, private practices (in Washington, D.C., Florida and Kentucky) and community mental-health clinics. She also taught at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. One thing nagged at her. "Te one common thing you hear all the time when patients come to see (psychiatrists) is, 'Oh, my God, I had to wait so long to get in!' And that bothers me because we know psychiatric illnesses are crisis-driven," Frankel says. Data backs up patients' complaints about long wait times. Frankel mentions a small, preliminary study conducted by University of Louisville nurse-practi- tioner students. Tey called 45 psychiatrists' ofces in Louisville to schedule an appointment. Of the 29 they reached, nine weren't taking new patients, 18 could schedule an appointment within six to eight weeks and two could ft patients in within two weeks. "Very few people say, 'I'm going to wake up six weeks from now and this anxiety or this depression is going to be unbearable," says Danielle Rogers-Can- dee, a nurse practitioner who works with Frankel. "No, people wake up one day and say, 'I can't take this anymore.'" Frankel sees many people who have, as a last resort, gone to the emergency room when they couldn't get an appointment with a psychiatrist. In the ER, she says, patients often wait hours to see a doctor, only to be told that if they don't need to be hospitalized (for instance, if they're not in danger of harming them- selves or others) they need to make an appointment with a therapist or psychiatrist. Back to square one, in other words. Solving that conundrum was Frankel's goal when, last February, she opened Te Couch, an immediate mental-healthcare clinic on Lime Kiln Lane near Bal- lard High School. "When we were frst creating Te Couch, I said the tagline should be, 'Where getting help is com- fortable,'" Frankel says. Te clinic is in a strip mall, between a Nanz & Kraft forist and a Japanese restau- rant. Sheer curtains in the waiting room provide a lot of natural light. "I really spent like a week thinking about curtains," Frankel says. She wanted privacy for patients but didn't want to create an atmosphere of secrecy and shame. "If I was a patient standing on the outside looking through something that was blacked- out, I wouldn't want to go in there," she says. When patients walk in, there's an electric freplace burning, colorful photographs on the walls and, of course, a pale-blue, velvet-tufted couch. "Te premise is to not have this sterile place or this really dilapi- dated place," Frankel says. "Most every mental-health ofce I've ever worked in looks awful." Rogers-Candee says that when the clinic frst opened, people would walk in just to see what the place was, because they'd never heard of an immedi- ate mental-healthcare clinic. "I think there were a lot of people who were hoping we were what we were," she says. "And then when we said, 'Here's what we do,' you could just see the kind of sigh of relief." A little more than a year after opening, staf members have seen about 1,000 patients. Appointments work a lot like any other medical ofce, except that the staf will see walk-ins. For an intake interview, a patient sees one of two clinical social workers or one of two registered nurses, who collect medical histories and fnd out what's troubling the patient. If neces- sary, Frankel says she and Rogers-Candee are able to start many patients on medications for conditions like depression or anxiety right away. She points out that many mental-health facilities require several visits with a therapist or social worker before starting medication, which can be frustrating for patients. Frankel approaches mental illness as a biological condition like any other physical illness. She believes that, when medication is needed, it's better to start with it, then follow up with therapy or support groups. "Te analogy I always use," Frankel says, "is if you're diabetic and your blood-sugar is astronomical, and the doctor started talking to you about nutrition and exercise before you've been given insulin — it doesn't make any sense." One more part of making mental-health care more accessible: Te clinic is open until 8 p.m. on week- O "Very few people say, 'I'm going to wake up six weeks from now and this anxiety or this depression is going to be unbearable," says Danielle Rogers- Candee, a nurse practitioner who works with Frankel. "No, people wake up one day and say, 'I can't take this anymore.'"

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