Preparing for Your Child’s Psychiatric Hospitalization

Parents have varied reactions to the experience of having a child hospitalized for depression or other behavioral health illnesses. Some parents become anxious upon learning that their child will be hospitalized, while others find it a relief that their child is getting help for his/her symptoms. We hope this guide will help in managing the experience. Our goal is to help you and your child through this transition to treatment and beyond.

Our interdisciplinary team provides evaluation and interventions for a broad spectrum of child and adolescent mental health conditions. The care of all patients admitted to the psychiatric unit is guided by a comprehensive, interdisciplinary treatment approach based on the bio/psycho/social model, which offers a holistic approach to evaluation and treatment.

The Inpatient Psychiatry Department embraces a family-centered approach to care. This means that you are an essential part of the team and will be involved in care decision making.

For the safety of patients, psychiatry is a secured unit with restricted access. The department features an acute stabilization program and the average inpatient stay is three to five days, although some patients may require a longer hospitalization to address individual needs. During your child’s stay the focus of treatment will include individual, group and family therapy, crisis intervention, on-going psychiatric/psychological evaluation, stabilization, and discharge planning.

Protecting your child’s safety and confidentiality is a priority for us. Due to the therapeutic structure of psychiatry, we do not offer open visiting hours/telephone calls, or parents staying on the unit.

Admission and Psychiatry Unit Visiting Hours

On admission you will meet the assigned nurse and behavioral health technician who will provide you with in-patient information, including guidelines and policies for the unit. You will be asked to provide information regarding your child and sign consent forms. A family therapy session will also be scheduled on admission.

Within 24 hours of admission the attending psychiatrist, psychiatric fellow/resident, nurse practitioner, and a therapist will evaluate your child and contact you.

If you have special needs due to your work schedule, please inform your case coordinator or charge nurse so we may best accommodate your request. Visitors are limited to two at a time. Visiting minors need to be escorted by an adult while on the unit. All visits are supervised by staff members.

The Treatment Plan

Your child will be seen by the treatment team every day to review his/her progress. The team can be available to answer any questions you may have. The team meets on an on-going basis throughout the week to discuss your child’s progress, including group participation, medication, and discharge planning.

Security and Personal Safety

For unit safety and the protection of patient confidentiality, a Personal Patient Identification Code (PPIC) will be given to you at the time of admission. Please remember that this number is necessary when asking for information or contact with the patient. This number is intended for guardians and immediate family.

All patients are under the close observation by a staff member 24 hours a day. Special precautions exist to provide a higher level of care for certain patients.

Psychiatry Unit Visitation Hours

Daily: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Psychiatric Unit Guidelines:

  1. Before entering the unit, family and visitors are required to obtain an identification tag from security. We ask all family members/visitors to leave personal belongings including cell phones in the lockers assigned by staff before entering the unit.
  2. For the safety of your child and the unit environment, all personal baggage is examined before entering the unit. Any belongings that are inappropriate will be given to the guardian to take home or will be kept in a locker. No sharp items are allowed on the unit.
  3. To help keep your child and the unit safe, acts of violence, and verbal or physical abuse are not allowed. All psychiatric staff is trained in crisis prevention interventions.
  4. Please leave any valuable items at home.
  5. Telephone calls can be made between the hours of noon to 1 pm, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. as per unit protocol. Patients can only call individuals approved by the legal guardian. Parents are always welcome to call the unit to speak to the nurses or staff members if they have questions.