Information For Parents about Hospital Care

What you need to know about the care of your child

Our units are family-centered and our care is trauma-sensitive. Parents and guardians are viewed as partners. We believe family participation is vital to effective and collaborative care and we want you to be involved. When clinically appropriate, we encourage parents to stay overnight with their child.

  • What should we expect?

    Having a child in the hospital can be frightening and sometimes overwhelming. Being in a new environment and relying on new caregivers can be difficult. We want to support you and your child during this time.

    When your child is admitted, we will:
    • Conduct a thorough assessment of your child’s diagnostic and treatment needs.
    • Assess and monitor medical issues related to your child's psychiatric care
    • Meet with your child every day.
    • Meet with your family to support treatment and treatment related goals.
    • Contact your outside providers.
    • Conduct systems / collateral meetings to coordinate care.
    • Make recommendations for parents and outside providers.
    • Make referrals and coordinate aftercare services to support transition to the community.
    During the course of your child’s stay, your child may benefit from:
    • Group therapy sessions
    • Family therapy consultation
    • Sibling and family support groups
    • Psychological testing
    • A health check up from a CHA pediatrician
    • Educational resources to help children continue age-appropriate school work
  • How long will my child stay in the hospital?

    This varies based on your child’s condition and needs. Our job is to diagnosis your child and develop a treatment plan for better health. At the same time, we want to make your child’s hospital stay as smooth as possible with minimal disruption.

    Length of stay is different with every child, but the average stay for the Child Unit is 9 days and for the Adolescent Unit is 8 days.

  • Are there outside/free time activities?

    Yes, children go outside, weather permitting, to a playground and we offer fun activities for those patients that are unable to go outside due to their condition. The Adolescent Unit has its own indoor and outdoor space for patients.

  • Are there any facility rules?

    All expectations revolve around “respect” – respect of property, oneself, and others. Our units are family-friendly and encourage caring and nurturing of our youngest patients. We ask that visitors do not bring items such as cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, sexually graphic books, t-shirts, and movies. This will help all our patients stay safe and healthy.

  • Are meals/food provided?

    Yes, food is provided on both units.

  • What staff will my child meet?

    Children admitted to our hospital units benefit from an excellent Harvard faculty, including a skilled team of doctors, psychologists, nurses, social workers, teachers and therapists who will provide the best care for your child.

  • What types of therapy could my child undergo?

    We use individual, group and family therapy. This includes a mix of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). The units use the ARC treatment model – attachment, self-regulation, and competency – which is particularly useful if children and families have early trauma or neglect.

  • Is there a school/tutoring policy?

    There are 2 separate hours of school each day on the unit. We have teachers through ED Inc. who incorporate kids work from their school.

  • How will my child spend his/her day?

    Every day consists of a mix of school, therapeutic groups, and recreational activities.

  • What items can your child have from home?

    During a hospital stay it is comforting to have some familiar belongings from home. We suggest bringing few days of clothes, and a special blanket, pillow, or stuffed toy. You can also bring in books.

    No telephones, ipads, laptops, anything with internet access or camera access is allowed. We also discourage bringing things like “BEATS” headphones or other expensive items.

    Kids can bring food from home but must be eaten when the parent is there and any leftovers go back with parents.

    For the Adolescent Unit, no caffeine is allowed in any drinks. You may have snacks but we have very little storage. Do not keep any items in glass containers and please no silverware.

  • Can I stay with my child overnight?

    Yes. Unlike many other units, in most cases parents may sleep over with their child – and encourage this especially on the first night.

  • Are the bathrooms and showers accessible for children with special needs?

    All units have handicap accessible showers and bathrooms as well as singles for privacy.

  • Visitor policy (are family and friends allowed)?

    Yes, we have open visiting hours on both units. Families get to decide who can visit. It is best to let your child know when you will be leaving and when you will return. Younger or anxious children may need additional support to cope with parents coming and going.

  • What other information do we need to know?

    There is a weekly group to support parents and siblings of children in our care. Video games are available to children at the end of the day, as appropriate, when kids are stable. Both units have sensory rooms and other options for gross motor movement to help kids self-regulate.

Affiliated with:
Teaching hospital of: