Child Psychiatry Services Frequently Asked Questions
Most Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have a choice in my child staying?
For a child to be admitted they must meet legal criteria such as a significant change in their level of functioning, danger to self/others, etc. Depending on the level of your child’s acuity, the psychiatrist will determine the need for admission/discharge.
What is my child doing while in the hospital
Please refer to the Family Handbook and unit schedule, which includes all groups/activities, etc.
Who may visit?
Upon admission, only parents/legal guardians are permitted to visit until the parent or guardian meets with the social worker.
May I go to the unit?
Upon admission to the unit, the parent(s)/guardian will accompany the child to the unit and will be greeted by the RN in the sally port of the unit. The RN will give you a brief explanation of the next 24 hours and what to expect as well as go over the Family Handbook with you. You will be given contact information and phone numbers. Due to privacy laws families are not permitted in patient care areas. Family/treatment team meetings will take place in designated areas within the unit.
The visiting time is impossible due to my work schedule. Is there any other option?
Please discuss issues related to visiting times with the social worker. Please understand the children are here for treatment and visiting should not interfere with necessary treatment routines.
Will my insurance cover this?
Due to the acuity and safety concerns, most children will be admitted directly to the unit. The Emergency Room social workers or utilization manager will call the insurance company to clarify coverage. We will work with the family regarding any insurance issues.
Will my child be forced to take medication?
Medication requires parental/legal guardian consent. If this is an option for your child, the psychiatrist will have a discussion with you before ever administering any medication.
May I bring my child food?
Parents/guardians may bring dry food such as cereal, snacks, cookies, etc. Please do not bring a large supply. No liquids are allowed and we do not heat up food. Food may be brought during visiting, but will need to be consumed during the visit as we are unable store food.
What about school? May I bring them their homework while in the unit?
We have allocated time for school work (please see unit schedule). We have a teacher on staff and will gather information and consent from you during the treatment meeting to allow us to contact the school to obtain classwork (Bergen County residents).
How old are the children on the unit?
We treat children 5 years old through 17 years old. Our programming is created to address the child’s needs per their developmental stage (please refer to unit activity schedule).
How many children are in a room?
We have several options. The unit has 3 rooms accommodating 4 children, 5 single rooms, and one large private room. The rooms are allocated to the children by age and gender and are at the discretion of the treatment team. Younger children will not be placed in a room with an older child.
I have heard about a 72 hour hold, what does this mean for my child?
There is no 72-hour hold for children. A child may be discharged sooner but the admission paperwork you sign in the emergency room is legal for up to 7 days. Again, this does not mean your child will be in the hospital for 7 days; however, if your child requires longer than 7 days this will be discussed with the parent/legal guardian during the treatment team meeting.
What happens if a family disagrees with admission to the hospital but the psychiatrist assesses the child needs to stay?
We always strive to work as a team with families; however, if the psychiatrist feels the patient is a danger to themselves or others and believes it is in the best interest of the patient to be admitted, the psychiatrist can have the child involuntarily committed at which time the 7-day paperwork would no longer apply. The treatment team will be in contact with the parent/guardian the following work day to explain the process and initiate treatment.
When will my child meet with the psychiatrist?
The resident psychiatrist will see the child immediately following admission to the unit.
When will we have a meeting?
The social worker will call the family/legal guardian the following work day to arrange a family/treatment team meeting at the earliest availability. Please note, for weekend admissions and holidays the social worker will call on the next business day.