Child & Adolescent Hospital Care

Expert care for children in crisis

The Center for Inpatient Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

CHA has expert behavioral health care for children and adolescents at our Somerville Campus. 

Our new units have been specially designed to provide a caring and calming setting for young people with acute behavioral health needs. Each unit features warm colors, natural light, many private rooms, group space and open air space – all intended to facilitate treatment while maximizing patient safety.

We are also committed to supporting families. We know this is an exceedingly difficult time for everyone. 

About Our Units

Child Psychiatry Unit
CHA Somerville Campus, 6th floor
A 24-bed unit for ages 3-12
Adolescent Psychiatry Unit
CHA Somerville Campus, 2nd floor
A 21-bed unit for ages 13-17

Common admitting diagnoses: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Disruptive Behavior Disorders, Mood Disorders, and Anxiety Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability

Our care model: When young people come to us in crisis, we give them our best. Every child who joins us finds a caring team that strives to give them what they need. These teams are led by board-certified child psychiatrists. Other team members include an amazing nursing staff, psychologists, social workers, case managers, milieu counselors, special education teachers, occupational therapists, and pharmacists. The patients also benefit from teaching teams with child psychiatry fellows, general psychiatry residents and Harvard and Tufts medical students.

Every patient in our care receives a comprehensive evaluation and treatment. This includes medication management, as needed. Other services include individual and group therapy, occupational therapy, grade-appropriate education, family guidance and therapy and sibling support, case management and systems-wide coordination of aftercare services.

Group programming is key to our care model. This allows us to acknowledge and respond to the foundational distress and trauma that often brings patients into our care. Patients are able to participate in clinical therapy and skill building groups, school, art and recreational activities, active movement groups, yoga, pet therapy, and more. These help develop coping skills, build distress tolerance, foster feelings of accomplishment, and develop feelings of community and belonging. Group experiences are a part of a larger framework that uses the principles of trauma-informed care – safety, trustworthiness, transparency, peer support, collaboration and empowerment. Our care also honors cultural, historical and gender differences.

Neurodevelopmental Disorders Unit (NDU)
CHA Somerville Campus, 5th floor
A 24-bed unit for children ages 3-17
With dedicated areas for young children and adolescents

Admitting diagnoses: The Neurodevelopmental Disorders Unit (NDU) is an exciting new specialty service for children and youth with a primary diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, or a related neurodevelopmental disorder, who are also experiencing serious behavioral or mental health challenges that have not responded to other levels of care. Eligible patients will often have significant impairments in adaptive living skills, deficits in communication or language skills, and challenges or limitations in cognitive functioning.

Our care model: Neurodevelopmental services are grounded in the same principles which have made CHA’s inpatient psychiatry services nationally respected – compassionate, culturally sensitive, evidence-based, and trauma-informed care.

The approach to care on the NDU is unique. In addition to nurses, milieu counselors, special educators, psychiatrists, social workers, case managers, speech language therapists and occupational and physical therapists, our team includes board certified behavioral analysts. These professionals bring applied behavioral analysis and learning theory to our model. We use these technologies and rigorous data systems to track patient behaviors and monitor individualized behavior plans for effectiveness. Our ultimate goal is to help patients develop functional communication skills, improve their adaptive daily living skills, and expand their social communication.

Parents, families and caregivers will be involved in coaching and education sessions while the patient is in the hospital. These help everyone learn new strategies for reducing challenging behaviors while reinforcing and teaching newer, more functional skills. This allows our patients to be safer and more successful in the community.

Services we Offer

  • Comprehensive evaluation
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  • Medication management
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  • Family treatment and guidance
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  • Group therapy
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  • Individual therapy
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  • Occupational therapy
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  • Sibling support services

Conditions we Treat

  • Attachment Disorder
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  • Addiction and mental health disorders (co-occurring)
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  • Autism spectrum disorders
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  • Mood/anxiety disorders
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  • Other neurodevelopmental disorders
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  • Suicidal thoughts
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  • Trauma
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