New detainee psych ward to open soon

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The new detainee psychiatric ward at Camp Delta is expected to be in use by October. Photo provided by JTF-GTMO Combat Camera

New detainee psych ward to open soon[edit]

By Spc. Dave Lankford JTF-GTMO Public Affairs Office

In a never-ending effort to improve the quality of care offered to the detainees at GTMO, Camp Delta is preparing to open its new psychiatric ward before the end of the year in October.

Though the level of treatment the detainees receive has always been top quality, the new facility will be a more comfortable environment for the patients, as well as a more convenient location for the service members working there.

The new facility will be an extension of the detention hospital, and unlike the old ward, will be air conditioned throughout. The new ward will have 20 beds in segregated rooms, unlike the old ward, which was set up much the same as a standard block. This will enable the staff to provide care in a “conducive, therapeutic atmosphere,” said Navy Capt. Barney Barendse, Deputy Joint Task Force Surgeon.

“[The detainees] are patients and treated accordingly. We treat them the way we would treat any other psychological disorder. They get the same care [JTF Troopers] get, they just have quicker access to it because they live right there,” said Barendse.

Barendse also said the new ward will help in that it will bring both medical facilities together in the camp. At this point there is a distance between the two facilities. This takes time not only for the medical staff, but also for the guards who have to move the detainees from place to place.

“The thing about this new ward is we have the dedicated guard force there, we’re a tri-service staff running the place and the Navy is the executive agent. Combine all of this together and we have an excellent program,” said Barendse.

The new ward is in the final stage of construction, and should be fully operational in the near future. New detainee psych ward to open soon.

“We did the walk through about 10 days ago. We’re just waiting on furniture at the nurses’ station, doctors’ offices, conference room and in the actual segregated rooms. The previous ward was set-up much the same as a standard detention block. It’s built just like a prison psychiatric ward would be built...We used the American Corrections Association as our guide,” said Barendse.

If everything goes as planned, the new psych ward should be opened in early October.