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Covenant Health is an innovative, Catholic regional delivery network and a leader in values based, not-for-profit health and elder care. We sponsor hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living residences and other health and elder care organizations throughout New England.

Senior Behavioral Health Unit (SBHU) at St. Joseph Hospital

Senior adults experience many life changes; often these changes are due to loss of loved ones, declining physical health and loss of independence. Acute and chronic illnesses may complicate and contribute to major life changes that can be overwhelming. These events can trigger depression, anxiety and other severe psychiatric symptoms that may require treatment by specially trained psychiatric physicians, nurses and therapists.

The Senior Behavioral Health Unit at St Joseph’s Hospital is designed as a 24 bed short-term inpatient treatment program for adults 65 & over who are experiencing severe behavioral and/or emotional symptoms

The following are common life changes that can trigger symptoms and the need for specialized psychiatric intervention.

  • Physical disability – Long-term illness

  • Physical illnesses that can affect thought, memory, and emotion

  • Change of environment, like moving out of family home

  • Illness or loss of a loved one

  • Alcohol or substance abuse

Symptoms that may indicate the need for treatment

  • Sad or depressed mood lasting longer than two weeks

  • Dementia related behaviors

  • Malnutrition

  • Medication interactions and side effects

  • Social withdrawal; loss of interest in things that used to be enjoyable

  • Onset of confusion, disorientation, problems with concentration or decision-making

  • Increase or decrease in appetite; changes in weight

  • Memory loss, especially abrupt recent or short-term memory problems

  • Feelings of worthlessness or thoughts of suicide

  • Agitation, aggression, threats/attempts to harm others

  • Hallucinations and or Delusional thoughts

  • Loss of interest in personal appearance/hygiene

  • Refusing to take prescribed medications

Our Program

Our program is designed to provide stabilization and individualized care in a safe, supportive environment and include: 

  • Comprehensive Evaluation

  • Diagnosis and symptom stabilization

  • Daily Psychiatric assessment

  • Medical management of secondary medical conditions

  • 24-hour nursing care

  • Family education and support

  • Individual, group, exercise and art therapies

  • Discharge planning and coordination of follow up care

An individualized treatment plan is developed for each patient upon admission. Prior to discharge, our team will explore and recommend appropriate settings and resources to assist the patient based on his or her level of functioning. 

Meet Our Medical Director, Dr. Jodi Marshall

Dr. Marshall's career in medicine began with research investigating a vaccine for Alzheimer's Disease. She joined the SBHU in January 2021 as our new Medical Director and is currently board certified in Adult Psychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry. 

While studying Neuroscience at Hamilton College, Dr. Marshall conducted research investigating a vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease. She continued this research after college and went on to obtain a medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School.  Following medical school, she completed a residency in Adult Psychiatry at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and then went on to complete a fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry, also at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. This additional training allowed her to specialize in the treatment of patients with dementia and other mental health conditions in those over 65 years old. As part of her fellowship, she took special interest in end of life care in patients with dementia. 

Outside of her medical practice, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. On their time off together, they can mostly be found outdoors enjoying everything NH has to offer. In the winter, she also coaches her daughters’ ice hockey teams and when not on an ice rink, they are often found on the ski slopes.  

We Can Help

Referrals for admission are accepted 24 hours/7 days week and can be initiated by physicians, health care professionals, family members and by patient self-referral.

For more information, please contact our Community Education Manager, Peter Burke at or you can call our intake line at 603-884-5560