What to Expect During an Inpatient Psychiatric Stay

Getting treatment at an inpatient psychiatric hospital is a big step toward recovery — but it may seem intimidating at first.

“A lot of people may feel scared when they come in. But this is really about getting you better,” said Trisha Rimpa, unit director at UPMC Northwest Behavioral Health.

Read more about what you can expect during an inpatient psychiatric stay.

What Is an Inpatient Psychiatric Facility?

Inpatient mental health centers provide thorough treatment in a residential setting.

The center will have everything you need — including space for:

  • Sleeping
  • Bathing
  • Recreation
  • Treatment
  • Dining

During your stay, you will receive round-the-clock care.

You’ll meet daily with care providers, nurses, and counselors in both one-on-one and group settings. And, you can receive medical attention at any time if you need it.

RELATED: Different Types of Mental Illness

The Care Team at Your Inpatient Psychiatric Facility

Your care team will take time to assess you and design a personalized treatment plan.

Members of the care team at your center includes, among others:

    • Milieu therapists
    • Social workers
    • Registered nurses
    • Psychiatrists
    • Peer specialists
    • Patient care workers

Call UPMC Northwest Behavioral Health at 814-676-7700 to learn more. If you need help right now, please go to your nearest emergency room.

How Long Will I Stay in a Psychiatric Hospital?

The length of your stay depends on your needs.

Your treatment may last a few days or a few weeks, based on your doctor’s recommendation.

What Can I Bring with Me to Inpatient Psychiatric Care?

Pack light.

Rimpa said inpatient mental health centers provide patients with just about everything they need for their stay, including:

  • Toiletries
  • Blankets
  • Linens
  • Other everyday items you need to feel comfortable

Items you can bring to rehab:

  • Comfy clothes without drawstrings
  • Shoes without laces
  • Books
  • Insurance info
  • A list of the medicines you take

The staff at your center can provide you with a full list of allowed items.Items you should leave at home:

  • Cigarettes, lighters, and controlled substances
  • Cell phones and electronics
  • Outside food and drink
  • Jewelry that is sharp
  • Cords, keys, belts, and wallets
  • Anything made of glass

What’s Day-to-Day Life Like in an Inpatient Mental Health Center?

Inpatient psychiatric centers have specific and structured daily schedules, designed to help patients recover.Your schedule will include:

  • Group therapy
  • Meals
  • Treatment
  • Sleep hygiene

Other things to expect during your stay:

  • You’ll attend group and one-on-one care sessions each day. In between treatment and other activities, you must keep your own space tidy.
  • You’ll have down time — games, puzzles, and supervised outdoor space are all part of your care.
  • If, for any reason, you need medical treatment during your stay, your care team will see that you have access.
  • Safety is crucial for you and your care team. You need to follow the center’s safety rules.

Can I have visitors at rehab?

During your inpatient psychiatric stay, you can have visitors and make phone calls in a supervised area. All visitors go through a security check to make sure they don’t bring prohibited items into the center. Most mental health centers limit visitor and phone call hours to allow more time for treatment. Staff can help you arrange other visiting hours, if needed.

Your Road to Recovery: Inpatient Psychiatric Care

Many patients find that inpatient psychiatric care:

  • Allows them to rest in a way they weren’t able to at home.
  • Teaches them new coping skills.
  • Helps them get better.