Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: A Behavioural intensive care unit (BICU), intended to monitor psychiatric patients in acute conditions, was opened at the Mental Health Centre here.

The BICU is a modern concept in the management of psychiatric patients who are too agitated or violent at the time of admission to a hospital and cannot be handled in an open ward. The MHC has become one of the few mental hospitals in the country and the first in the State to have this new facility.

The project proposal mooting the need for a BICU had been put forth to the Government by eminent psychiatrist and the former secretary of the State Mental Health Authority, the late V. Suraraj Mani. The new facility at MHC has been named after Dr. Mani.

The BICU was inaugurated by Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy here on Friday. The six-bed centrally air-conditioned ICU has been set up at a cost of Rs.15 lakh by refurbishing ward one at the hospital.

It has been equipped with all modern implements and patient-monitoring systems like the ventilator and the cardiac monitor.

Patients who are brought to the out-patient clinic at MHC in a delirious state following alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms or psychiatric patients who are in an excited or agitated state, often need to be calmed down before they can be admitted to the ward. Till now, such patients were being restrained in a single cell at the MHC.

It was Dr. Mani's idea that patients who present a risk to themselves as well as to others because of their agitated behaviour should be given a more calming and soothing environment, with one-to-one care and constant monitoring with medication.