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Being Admitted to Acute Inpatient Unit (The Garron Centre for Child & Adolescent Mental Health at the IWK)

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Getting Admitted

Getting admitted to an inpatient unit might be overwhelming. When you first arrive, a nurse will meet you and show you to your private room. The nurse will ask you questions about yourself, your family, your symptoms, how you handle stress and any medications you are taking. Then you will meet with your care team to discuss the plan for your treatment. 

Care Team

Your care team will include a psychiatrist, psychiatric resident, nurses, a social worker and/or a psychologist. The occupational therapist, child life specialist and recreation therapist run groups and activities to help with your recovery. As soon as you are admitted, your treatment team will work with you and your family to plan for your return home.

A Typical Day

A typical day on the Acute Inpatient Unit starts with breakfast and a walk before school. There is a classroom on the unit and if you are well enough, you’ll go to class between 9-12 noon. The teachers are great and will help you stay connected to your community school. 

In the afternoon there are groups and individual treatment. Groups will include life skills; recreational outings, yoga, visits to the teen lounge. You will also participate in individual treatment with your clinical team (psychiatrist, social worker, psychologist, nurse). Parents/caregivers also participate in family therapy. Everyone gets help!

At the end of the day, there is dinner and then early evening recreational activities. You’ll have some quiet time between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. and then lights out at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. on weekends. 

Welcoming Family/Caregivers/Friends

Visitors are always welcomed. Your immediate family/caregivers may visit any time. Other relatives and friends can visit Monday to Friday 5:30 - 8 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Your parents are able to stay with you during your time on the unit. There is a comfortable family room on the unit with a chair, pullout couch and TV that is often used by parents from out of town.

Getting Ready for Discharge

Discharge planning is an essential part of your care. Discharge planning means thinking ahead to when you will leave the unit and what will happen then. The team will usually begin talking about this with you, and your family, early in your admission. The discharge plan will be designed to meet your mental health and/or addictions needs. 

An important part of discharge planning is a pass to spend time away from the unit. Getting independence helps you prepare for discharge.  As soon as you are ready, staff will give you day and overnight passes, making it easy to spend time with family or friends. 

Once your symptoms are stable, you will be discharged. You may continue to have some symptoms after you leave the unit. Your treatment team will work with you and your family to have follow up treatment in the community. It is all part of your longer term recovery.