Inpatient Hospitalization

During an inpatient hospitalization, your child stays at the hospital to get help for a mental illness or serious behavioral problem. The hospital stay lasts as long as needed to make sure your child is safe when he or she leaves. Having a child in the hospital may be difficult. You might have a lot of questions and concerns. This information can answer some of your questions.

What happens after your child goes to the hospital?

  • A doctor evaluates your child.
  • Your child gets some medical tests, which may include drug or pregnancy tests.
  • Your child may get medicine, with your permission.
  • You will be invited to family meetings at the hospital. It’s important that you go to the meetings.
  • Your child will receive individual and group therapy.

How can you be a part of your child’s treatment team?

  • Get the names of the social worker and doctor who will be taking care of your child.
  • Go to family meetings.
  • Ask the team about your child’s care so you can learn more about your child’s needs and ways you can help.
  • Ask questions if there is something you do not understand.
  • Ask questions about medicine that your child will be getting. You should know:
    • The name of the medicine
    • What it does
    • How much your child will get
    • How often your child needs to take it and at what times of day
    • Side effects
    • If the medicine is covered by your insurance company
  • Be sure you understand everything you are asked to sign.

How can you help your child’s treatment team work together?

  • Sign forms giving the hospital permission to talk to other people who are working with your child. It helps when the hospital can share what they have learned about your child. You (and the people helping your child after he/she leaves the hospital) should know what the hospital has learned.
  • Ask the hospital team to talk with your child’s teacher. The team may be able to help the teacher support your child when he or she returns to school.
  • If you are a foster parent, you should ask your caseworker to talk to the hospital team right away so they have everything they need to take care of your foster child.

How do you prepare for your child to leave the hospital?

  • Ask the hospital team how long your child might be in the hospital. This will help you to plan ahead for your child’s return home.
  • The hospital team will talk to you about plans for services after your child leaves the hospital. The hospital team will give you an appointment for your child. Ask for the name, place, date, and time of the appointment. If you have problems getting to appointments, tell the team so they can help.
  • If your child will be taking medicine, you should receive at least a two weeks supply. Ask if there is a doctor’s appointment to get more so you will not run out.
  • If your child will not be coming home after leaving the hospital, help the team to make other plans.
  • Ask for a copy of any plan that has been made to keep your child safe after leaving the hospital.

You and your family should be involved in all decisions related to treatment. If you have questions about your child’s care, call the hospital team working with your child. If you are not happy with the care your child is getting, call us for help.