When you think of psychiatric hospitals, you think of a hospital for adults. The majority of hospitals for children are located in residential units or group homes, which means you can see them on a more regular basis.
The staff of the hospital are often very well trained and experienced in working with children, and the staff are very approachable.
How long do children in?
The average length of stay for a child in a hospital is one to three days. The length of stay depends on many factors such as:
- The type of hospital (private or public)
- The type of admission
- The type of illness (acute, chronic, etc.)
- Whether the child has a long stay
- Whether there is a family member in the area
- The child’s age and gender
There are also a number of factors that may increase the length of stay, such as:
- The child’s age
- Whether the child has a co-occurring mental illness
- Whether the child has an underlying condition
- The child’s treatment plan and progress
What does a child in a psych ward go through?
The typical process for a child in a psych ward includes:
- Inpatient admission
If your child needs to be admitted to the hospital, they will go to the admissions desk and provide all necessary information about their illness.
This includes providing:
- Their name
- Their medical history
- A list of medications they are taking
- A list of allergies they have
- A list of developmental delays and delays in their growth (if any)
After they have been admitted, they will go to the nurses’ station to get ready for their stay. The admission paperwork will be completed and the child will go to their room, where they can rest and get their needs met.
Depending on the child’s needs, their bed may be in a room, a private room, or a special room that has a private bathroom. They will typically have a nurse on hand to assist them during their stay.
- During the hospital stay, the child will have a number of routine check-ups that include a physical exam, blood work, and a psychological assessment.
- A pediatric psychiatrist may be involved in their care.
- The child may have a mental health specialist join their team, a social worker, or a nurse case manager.
What is the psych ward like the first time?
The first time your child comes to the hospital, they will enter a room, get an IV and a monitor, and have their meals brought in. This is the bedside time, where they get to know their new surroundings.
They will be given a gown and will be able to get undressed in the private room.
They will get a bedtime snack and will get to read their book before going to bed, or the nurse can read it to them.
The staff will provide some comfort items, such as a blanket or reading light, and a toy or a game.
The child will get to go home the next day after discharge, but will still need to keep an eye on their progress. There will be a follow-up visit for a few days to monitor their condition, and to make sure they are healing and stable.
Can my child be in the psych ward?
While there are always going to be some children who go to the psych ward, the vast majority of children are admitted to the hospital for other reasons.
If your child’s symptoms are acute, they will be admitted to the hospital without a mental health referral. This is the case when they were admitted for an emergency, when their symptoms are not severe enough to require admission to the hospital.
If the symptoms are chronic, they may be admitted to the hospital in order to receive outpatient care. This is the case when there are complications or if they have been admitted for an extended period of time.
Children who are acutely ill may also be admitted to the hospital if they have an underlying condition that is causing their symptoms.
If your child is admitted to the hospital, they will have a bed and a nurse on call. They will get the same amount of attention as every other patient, and they will be able to get around the hospital as they need to.
What does a child in the psych ward eat?
The meals provided to children in a psych ward are the same as those served to children in an adult ward; however, they are provided in a specialized area that has all of the right equipment and can accommodate the child and their needs.
The meals are typically provided three times per day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The child will receive a meal tray and will be able to eat anything they wish to. The meal tray includes a dish for the child’s meal, a bottle to collect their own drink, and a straw.
The meal tray and the bottle are provided by the hospital, and it is the responsibility of the child to drink their own bottle and to use the straw.
The child will have a schedule to follow each day when they can eat their meals. They will need to be in bed by 8:00 a.m. for bedtime so the staff can prepare their meals by 8:00 p.m.
They will also have snacks in the morning and at bedtime. For some children, the snacks are a small snack before bedtime.
If your child’s needs require them to take medication, the staff will provide a special medication cup to collect their medications.
The child will get to take their medication at the nurse’s station at the hospital. They may also receive a medication tray for each day and will be able to take their medications in the morning and at bedtime as needed.
What happens after the child has been discharged from the psych ward?
Children who have been admitted to the hospital for an extended period of time will need to stay in the hospital for a while. This is to ensure they are healing and stable.
After the child has been discharged from the hospital, they will need to continue with their outpatient follow-up appointments, which may be in the form of a visit to the doctor or a mental health specialist.
They will also need to keep a close eye on their progress and will have to be monitored for any complications.
If your child is in need of mental health care, you should call the hospital to make an appointment. However, it’s important to know that it is not recommended that your child be admitted to the hospital unless they are acutely ill or their symptoms are severe.
If you have any questions or concerns, you can speak to a member of the hospital staff. They will be happy to help you.
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