Inpatient treatment is 24-hour care by mental health professionals and healthcare providers in a psychiatric hospital or residential treatment program. Hospital treatment usually offers more psychiatric, nursing, and therapy. A hospital is always a secure (locked) facility. Some, but not all, residential treatment programs are secure. Hospitals generally have separate units for children (preschool to about age 12) and teens (12 to 18). Children and teen units are separate from mentally ill adults.
Your child may need inpatient treatment if he is a danger to himself or to others, or if other kinds of treatment are not available or would not work well for your child.
Inpatient psychiatric treatment is voluntary if the parent or guardian agrees. It may also be ordered by the court if a mental health professional certifies that your child needs treatment. This is often due to serious safety concerns that your child may hurt himself or others.
Your healthcare provider or mental health professional will talk about your child’s choices for treatment and explain the program and any risks. You should understand what the treatment involves and how long it will take your child to recover.
If you need to get your child admitted to a hospital right away, you will need to rely on the advice of your healthcare provider. When there is more time to make a decision start by researching several facilities close to where you live. Call each program you are considering. Ask about waiting lists and admission requirements. Then visit each facility. Ask questions such as:
Inpatient treatment may include several kinds of therapy.
How long your child will be in treatment depends on the severity of your child's behaviors and symptoms and how they respond to treatment. Your child may be in the hospital for only a few days or may need to stay longer.
Family patterns often need to change to help your child best. You may be asked to:
For more information, contact: