Senior Behavioral Health

Senior Behavioral Health Unit

In May 2000, Wahiawa General Hospital opened the Senior Behavioral Health Unit, a unique program that offers acute inpatient treatment for seniors who are suffering from emotional and psychological and behavioral problems. The goal of the program is to restore the overall quality of daily life for the patient and caregiver.

An individualized plan of care is developed for each patient, with continuous input from an interdisciplinary team, which includes assessments from Psychiatry, Medicine, Nursing, Social Services, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Nutrition.

An admission to the program is normally preceded by a referral, followed by an evaluation by a member of the Senior Behavioral Health team. Referral sources may include physicians, healthcare providers, caregivers, family members, and nursing homes.

Description of Organization

  • 10-bed inpatient acute Geriatric Psychiatric/ Medical unit which offers treatment for seniors who are suffering from acute emotional and psychological problems that impair their lives.

  • Services include diagnostic evaluation, medical consultations, pharmacological treatment, milieu therapy, and psychotherapy (individual, family and group).

  • Goal is to restore the overall quality of life for the individual and caregiver. To aid in this process, an individualized treatment plan is developed with patient’s participation and input.


  • Eligibility criteria are based on age and psychiatric acuity. Age criteria is 60 years and older, with some flexibility.

  • Referrals are accepted from everywhere and include physicians, healthcare providers, nursing homes, families, etc.

  • Collaboration is done with any agencies who work with older adults. Discharged patients return to nursing homes, foster homes, care homes, or back to family.


  • Our unit has 10 beds and accepts patients on a space-available basis.

  • At times we do have a wait list. Admissions are based on triage and acuity for admission to the unit.

  • Referrals are accepted 24/7, and response to referrals will be made by the next business day.

  • Admissions are coordinated during regular business hours.

  • All patients on the Behavioral Health Unit have mental health issues and concerns as the primary focus of treatment.

Structure, Resources

The Senior Behavioral Health Unit is located on the second floor within Wahiawa General Hospital.

Physician Staff includes: Medical Director, Dr. Michael Komeya, M.D., Geriatric & Adult Psychiatrist, Dr. Elena Sharipova, M.D., Medical Geriatric Consultant, Dr. Baron Wong, M.D.  

Available Resources to Assist with Improving the Geriatric Mental Healthcare System

  • Trainings: Caregiver Training, offered on an as needed basis.

  • Expertise on geriatric psychiatry

  • Founded in 2000, the Senior Behavioral Health Unit continues to be the only one of its kind in the State of Hawaii. The unit has treated thousands of seniors who suffer from emotional and psychiatric problems due to various reasons.

  • The Senior Behavioral Health Unit at Wahiawa General Hospital has helped serve our community needs of the elderly patients who exhibit acute signs of depression, psychosis, anxiety and behavioral disturbances due to dementia.

Treatment Approach

  • Our treatment milieu is provided in a non-intrusive, warm, and caring atmosphere. The goal is to provide medical & psychological treatment to help the individual resolve identified problems and progress to the highest possible quality of life and well-being. To aid in this process, the patients participate in developing their individualized treatment plans. Referral sources are encouraged to participate in treatment planning and the overall continuity of care for each patient. The aftercare planning process encourages family, caregiver and community involvement as well.

Treatment Team

  • The care of patients is under the direction of a psychiatrist who specializes in geriatrics.

  • Treatment orders are carried out with the help of experienced and caring healthcare professionals.

  • The individualized treatment plan is reviewed and updated on a daily basis by the professional team, and the interdisciplinary team meets weekly to discuss and update any changes or barriers that have been identified.

Consultations & Assessments

  • Consultations & assessments are confidential and available free of charge.

  • Please call our intake coordinator at 621-4310 to make an appointment for screening.

  • All admissions to Wahiawa General Hospital Senior Behavioral Health Unit are voluntary. Each patient is required to sign a consent form at the time of admission.

  • All patients admitted to our Senior Behavioral Health unit need to have a discharge plan in place prior to admission.