Institute of Psychiatry

Frequently Asked Questions about Inpatient Services

Who are the patients that come to your unit?

Usually we are referred children and adolescents whose problems with feelings, behavior, or thinking become too dangerous or too complicated to be handled on an outpatient basis.

What kind of evaluation will be done?

A multidisciplinary team will try to get the best understanding of the problem by talking with the child and the parent or caregiver and learning about the components of a child's life, as well as what might be helping or hindering him or her.  Diagnosis and recommendations for change will be made based on our understanding of the problem situation.

Will my child be tested for a "chemical imbalance?"

There is no specific blood test to determine psychiatric disorders.  However, your child will get a complete physical exam, routine blood work, and urinalysis to rule out medical problems.  Additional tests may be ordered as needed.

What tests are NOT routinely obtained?

Psychological testing is not done, and CT or MRI scans and EEG's are rarely obtained unless they are felt necessary.  If indicated, these tests may also be done on an outpatient basis.

What about medicines?

If the doctors believe that a new medicine or a medicine change would be helpful, they will contact the parent or caregiver to discuss this recommendation.  Only in rare or emergency situations would any medicine be given without parent or caregiver permission.

How long will my child be in the hospital?

Each situation is unique and your child's treatment team will let you know the exact day of discharge for your child.

Can parents stay overnight in the hospital with their child?

Parents are unable to stay overnight on our unit, but are welcome during visiting hours.

Will my child need an excuse for school?

If a school consent form was signed allowing us to talk to the child's school, our teachers will take care of notifying the school to get the excused absence or credit for days while an inpatient.

My child was driven to the hospital by the sheriff; can the sheriff also bring my child back home?

When a child is committed here by a judge, the sheriff might drive the child here.  However, in order to discharge a patient, we ask the judge to end the commitment.  Then, it is the parent or caregiver's responsibility to arrange transportation back home.

Do you arrange placements for children whose parents don't want them to return home?

No, we are an acute care hospital. Any discussion of going somewhere else instead of home would be with your local community agencies.  We do share the community agencies' philosophy that all efforts should first be made to support a child in remaining with his or her family whenever possible.

 
 
 

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