Finding a Hospital

If you decide you need to go to a hospital, your treatment options depend on the level of care you will need to receive. Who administers that care depends on where you go to seek treatment. Listed below are several different types of facilities that offer different levels of care:

  • Inpatient, 24-hour care is provided by the psychiatric units within general hospitals, and at private psychiatric hospitals. Care is supervised by psychiatrists and provided by psychiatric nurses and group therapists.
  • Each state has public psychiatric hospitals that provide acute (short-term) and long-term care to people without means to pay, those requiring long-term care, and forensic patients. Community-based behavioral health centers may also fill this role in some counties.
  • Partial hospitalization provides therapeutic services during the day, but not on a 24-hour basis. It can be an intermediate step between in-patient care and discharge.
  • Residential care is 24-hour psychiatric care provided in a residential setting for children or adolescents, or residential programs for the treatment of addictions.
  • Peer Run Respite are places you can stay that are alternatives to hospital care. Mental health respite homes are often run by people who have experience living with mental illness (peer specialists).

It can be helpful to talk with your psychiatrist or therapist, your local Mental Health America affiliate, or members of area support groups for recommendations when choosing an in-patient or residential treatment facility. In addition, you can consult the resources listed below to assist you in your search.

If your hospitalization is voluntary, or if your psychiatrist prescribes hospitalization, take the time to learn more about the recommended facility in which you will be receiving treatment. Call the facility in advance to learn about admission procedures, daily schedules, what items you can and cannot bring, and any other day-to-day policies you want to know about. You should also inquire about check-out procedures. Different rules apply depending on how you were admitted.

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