Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I have a choice in my child's stay?
A: We admit a child when they meet legal criteria such as a significant change in their level of functioning or danger to self/others. Depending on your child's acuity, the psychiatrist will determine the need for admission/discharge.
Q: What is my child doing while in the hospital?
A: Please refer to the Family Handbook and unit schedule, which includes all groups/activities.
Q: Who may visit?
A: Upon admission, we only permit parents/legal guardians to visit until the parent or guardian meets with the social worker.
Q: May I go to the unit?
A: Upon admission, the parent(s)/guardian will accompany the child to the unit to be greeted by the RN in the sally port. The RN will give you a brief explanation of the next 24 hours and what to expect and go over the Family Handbook with you. For your reference, we will provide contact information and phone numbers. Due to privacy laws, we cannot allow families in patient care areas. Family/treatment team meetings will take place in designated areas within the unit.
Q: The visiting time is impossible due to my work schedule. Is there any other option?
A: You should discuss issues related to visiting times with the social worker. Please understand that the children are here for treatment, and visits should not interfere with necessary treatment routines.
Q: Will my insurance cover this?
A: 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.
Q: Will my child be forced to take medication?
A: Medication requires parental/legal guardian consent. If this is an option for your child, the psychiatrist will discuss it with you before administering any medication.
Q: May I bring my child food?
A: Parents/guardians may bring dry food such as cereal, snacks, and cookies, but we ask you only to bring in a small supply. No liquids are allowed, and we do not heat food. You may bring and eat food during visiting, but we cannot store any food.
Q: What about school? May I bring them their homework while in the unit?
A: We allocate 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 contact the school to obtain classwork (Bergen County residents).
Q: How old are the children on the unit?
A: We treat children five years old through 17 years old. Our programming addresses your child's needs per their developmental stage (please refer to unit activity schedule).
Q: How many children are in a room?
A: We have several options. The unit has three rooms accommodating four children, five single rooms, and one large private room. We allocate rooms by age and gender at the discretion of the treatment team. We do not place younger children in a room with an older child.
Q: I have heard about a 72-hour hold. What does this mean for my child?
A: There is no 72-hour hold for children. We may discharge a child 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 seven days; however, we will discuss this with you during the treatment team meeting if your child requires longer than seven days.
Q: What happens if a family disagrees with admission to the hospital, but the psychiatrist assesses the child needs to stay?
A: We strive to work as a team with a child's family. However, if the psychiatrist feels the patient is a danger to themselves or others and believes it is in their best interest, the child will be involuntarily admitted. In that case, the 7-day paperwork would no longer apply. The treatment team will contact the parent/guardian the following workday to explain the process and initiate treatment.
Q: When will my child meet with the psychiatrist?
A: The resident psychiatrist will see the child immediately following admission to the unit.
Q: When will we have a meeting?
A: The social worker will call the family/legal guardian the following workday to arrange a family/treatment team meeting at the earliest availability. Please note that the social worker will call on the next business day for weekend admissions and holidays.