Dr. Karen Young shared a new development with those attending the kickoff luncheon for Dazzle Daze on Tuesday. 

The Conway Regional Health System has received a $150,000 Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) federal grant to help establish an outpatient mental health center for senior adults in Faulkner, Cleburne, Perry, Conway and Van Buren counties. Patients can be referred to the center by any physician in the five-county area as long as they are eligible for services. 

The grant is administered by the state Department of Health and Human Services and is the first part of a three-year grant request to fund the geriatric outpatient mental health center that is expected to total $375,000. 

The outpatient center will provide mental health assessments, referrals, social services education and other services to Medicare patients and their caregivers. The center is projected to open in January 2010 and will be located on the second floor of the ambulatory surgery department on the Conway Regional campus. Young, a Conway psychiatrist, will serve as the medical director for the center. 

"This newest outpatient service at Conway Regional began with the Conway Regional Foundation and a grant search at the suggestion of several nurses," Young said. "I am pleased to be a part of the start up staff for what we hope will grow to serve many senior health issues. We will start with patients that have emotional and cognitive issues of the aging brain: early cognitive dysfunction, problems with mood, judgment, behavior and memory problems that are a result of changes in the brain that affect independence and quality of life."

During her talk at the luncheon, Young said the grant will also open up educational opportunities to the public. Young said she hoped to offer educational events monthly. 

A few of the topics she wanted to cover included guardianship of a person with dementia, legal issues and aging parents.

Young said a neuropsychologist would be working at the center and she hoped to add a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a geriatrician for the outpatient facility.

"These outpatient services will augment the Conway Regional inpatient services," Young said. 

The inpatient services offer 11 patient beds specializing in geriatric patients.

The $150,000 federal grant is expected to fund about 80 percent of the total cost of the outpatient mental health center during the first year. The remaining costs will be funded by Conway Regional. It is expected that the grant will be renewed the next two years while the program is in the start-up phase. The center is projected to cost $643,985 over the first three years of operation with $375,000 in federal funding.

Conway Regional will work closely with a team of local senior services organizations that include the Faulkner County Council on Aging, Unity Adult Day Care and Home Instead Senior Care. They will coordinate free patient transportation to and from the center, a mental health literacy program and other forms of outreach to seniors. An advisory board has been created to represent community organizations and caregivers.

Conway Regional Health System, centered on a 146-bed acute care medical center, provides complete health care services to the growing communities of north Central Arkansas. The not-for-profit medical center serves patients in the north Central Arkansas with comprehensive care including cardiovascular surgery, cancer diagnosis and treatment, women’s services and rehabilitation therapy services. 

Dazzle Daze 2009 will benefit Senior and Pediatric Programs at Conway Regional Health System.

Dazzle Daze is a product of the Conway Regional Women’s Council. Through the end of the year, memberships to the Women’s Council have been discounted to $15. 

A few of the events leading to Dazzle Daze that will help raise money for the council include The Kitchen Store Holiday Preview. Every dollar spent in the store will be donated to the council for perinatal bereavement. Another fundraising event comes from the purchase of a membership at the Conway Regional Fitness Center. A portion of those proceeds will go to the council. 

Lori Quinn of Women’s Inc. told of a third fundraising event called "Red, Green and Jeans." Employees at participating companies pay $5 to wear red, green and jeans on a November Friday. Those who participate will receive a free ticket to Dazzle Daze.

Proceeds from last year’s Dazzle Daze were used to purchase the Kid Match system that is used at the hospital, linking mothers and babies through bar code system.

Dazzle Days runs from Nov.. 19-21 at the Don Owen Center. Shopping hours are Thursday, Nov. 19 from 6-9 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 20 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with early shopping for Breakfast with the Clauses participants begins at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are $5 for general shopping. Thursday night is Girls Night Out and will feature girlfriend photos and a drawing for jewelry for the first people to spend $100.

Raffle tickets can be purchased for $100. The top raffle prize is a 2010 Ford Mustang. There is a limit of 500 tickets that will be sold. The final ticket will be auctioned at Dazzle Daze with that person being guaranteed a prize.

Sheila Whitmore said she excited about this year’s event.

"I am more excited than I have ever have been. This year have 80 merchants. We are maxing out this year," Whitmore said.