What to Expect

The first step in your care is the initial evaluation. Patients are seen by an attending psychiatrist, psychiatry resident, case manager, social worker and psychiatric nurse. Each of these mental-health professionals assists in the full assessment of the medical, psychiatric and psychosocial components of your health.

Led by the attending psychiatrist, your team next uses these various evaluations, along with the results of medical studies such as MRI or PET scans, if applicable, to arrive at a diagnosis. Making psychiatric diagnoses can be difficult. However, the Inpatient Psychiatric Service includes caregivers with highly specialized areas of expertise, which improves our ability to make thoughtful and informed diagnoses.

Designing a Thorough Treatment Plan

With the involvement of you and your family, your psychiatrist and the rest of your team then tailor a thorough treatment plan designed to address your psychiatric and medical needs. Options may include:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Medications
  • Occupational therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Sensory interventions to reduce anxiety (e.g. meditation and visualization
  • Somatic therapies [e.g. electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for depression]

The makeup of our team allows us to deliver services rarely found in acute psychiatric units today. For instance, with three psychologists on the unit, we can offer many of our patients individual psychotherapy. Other points of distinction are our robust programs in group therapy and occupational therapy, and our ability to manage patients with significant medical illness.

Where appropriate, we co-manage your care with a medical physician at Mass General. We also have 24/7 access to medical and surgical specialists for consultations.

A Plan for Continuing Care

Most patients are discharged after five to 10 days in our unit. Our goal is to stabilize the acute signs of your illness so that you can function better and more safely when you leave Mass General.

Your individualized treatment plan includes a comprehensive strategy for outpatient care, which our social workers and case managers help you and your family to carry out. Elements of this after-care plan may include day treatment, outpatient psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, group treatment and access to community resources. We find that careful after-care planning can reduce the risk of relapse and repeat hospitalizations.

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