Spencer State Hospital

West Virginia Blue Book


Superintendent: Leslie J. Borbely, M.D. Business Manager: Paul W. Martin, Average daily population: 941.

The Spencer State Hospital is located in the city of Spencer, Roane County. It was authorized by an act of the Legislature in May 1887 and formally opened in 1893.

The hospital proper is located on a tract of land comprised of 180 acres, a portion of which is devoted to a large dairy farm which provides a constant supply of fresh milk for the hospital.

The farm also supports a large number of hogs which supplies pork and pork products for the use of the institution. An additional 295 acres is located about two miles from the hospital in an area known as Trotter Lake and it serves as a recreational area for the patients as well as a water shed for a dam that impounds approximately 25,000,000 gallons of water.

The hospital's bed capacity is 1,030 and the population averages around 1,000 patients. The hospital staff is composed of eight physicians, all of whom have had at least five years experience and special training courses in psychiatry. There is a very active and well trained social service department and an active nursing staff which includes seven registered nurses and two practical nurses. The hospital also provides dental treatment and has a modern high speed dental unit. The physically ill are treated in a separate medical department with the newest methods available. Electrocardiogram, laboratory and modern X-ray unit helps in the treatment and diagnoses of these patients.

The Spencer State Hospital adopted the open door policy and at the present time 76% of our patients reside on open wards. There are no mechanical restraints employed at the hospital. All forms of psychiatric treatment, such as psychotherapy, electro-convulsive therapy, chemotherapy and an active occupational and recreational therapies are utilized at the hospital. A new program, a class in remotivation for patients, has been in effect for a year which has added a great deal to the hospital's therapeutic success.

The hospital serves eight counties (Pleasants, Wirt, Calhoun, Roane, Clay, Kanawha, Fayette and Boone) which have a total population of approximately 400,000. In addition to the legally committed patients, the hospital also admits persons who make a voluntary application for admission.

The hospital is indebted to volunteer groups made up of citizens from Roane County and the City of Spencer, who have greatly assisted in the expansion of the Occupational Therapy and Recreational Programs.

In January 1964, a special program was initiated at this Institution which incorporates the concept of group orientation in a comprehensive intensive alcohol treatment unit. A trained team consisting of members representing all disciplines, at all levels, from a psychiatrist who is the director and active participant, to and including psychiatric aides, constitutes the therapeutic community principle with regard to the leadership personnel. The patient becomes a member of a group, each of whom interact freely on a very personal basis with one another, which helps to develop interpersonal skills in meaningful communication. This unit is the first of its kind to operate in the State of West Virginia. Since January, 1965, this unit has been strengthened by additional personnel provided by funds supplied by a Federal Hospital Improvement Project Grant amounting to over $350,000.00 over a four year period.

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