Riverside Mental Health & Recovery Center Psychiatric Emergency Department

Riverside Health Psychiatric Emergency Department Entrance

Riverside Mental Health & Recovery Center Psychiatric Emergency Department

Transforming the Landscape of Psychiatric Emergency Care

With both dignity and safety in mind, Riverside Health System felt called to provide the Virginia community with the state’s first freestanding psychiatric emergency department, and one of only a handful that exist in the U.S., to meet the growing needs of psychiatric patients who present to traditional emergency departments.

A First for Virginia

Due to its inaugural status in Virginia, several challenges arose in the effort to bring the psychiatric emergency department to fruition. HDR and Riverside held discussions with facilities in other states to learn from similar existing models, conducted research to inform best practices in design and operations, partnered with legal counsel on guidelines, and developed a variety of community and government partnerships to define this type of facility in the state. Ultimately, the new psychiatric emergency department was delivered and provides opportunity to integrate services in the continuum of care.

Riverside Health Psychiatric Emergency Department respite outdoors

Dignity Through Continuity of Care

Riverside’s Psychiatric Emergency Department is comprised entirely of intentional design choices that promote positive patient and family experiences, foster empathy and healing during times of crisis, and destigmatize and offer dignity to patients in mental health crisis. 

The groundbreaking facility includes several thoughtful features, including:
  • 10 treatment rooms: a six-bed adult pod, a two-bed pediatric pod and two flex rooms
  • Open treatment zone for socialization
  • Direct access to nature through a secure outdoor space
  • A quiet room that provides solace during moments of sensory overload
  • Separate intake and triage rooms for each population
  • Unobstructed visibility for the care team throughout the unit
  • A primary front entrance with separate daylit waiting areas for each population
  • A discreet, secure sally port entrance that provides dignifying patient transfers from EMS and law enforcement
  • Planned flows and circulation throughout the ED that inform a multi-layered security approach that is minimally invasive and destigmatizing

A New Approach 

The Riverside mission is to care for others as you would care for those you love. It guides what the organization does and their opportunities to care for mental health and addiction patients. By removing the barrier of having to present to a traditional emergency department as a psychiatric patient, which strains both provider and patient, the new Riverside Mental Health & Recovery Center Psychiatric Emergency Department allows for a dignified experience for behavioral health patients in Virginia in an unprecedented way that provides the patient with more options and reduces strain on behavioral health facilities.

Riverside Health Psychiatric Emergency Department Entrance
Riverside Mental Health & Recovery Center

Hampton, VA
United States

15,800 sf