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Psychiatry - Frequently Asked Questions

How are patients admitted?
Patients are evaluated at the Sibley Memorial Hospital Emergency Department for medical clearance before being admitted into the unit. Admissions for inpatient services are accepted 24-hours a day.

Who may refer patients?
Physicians, psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals may refer a patient. The final decision regarding admission is made by an attending Sibley Hospital psychiatrist. To make a referral, medical professionals may call 202-537-4770 or a patient can present themselves to the Emergency Department for an evaluation.

Are patients treated on a voluntary or involuntary basis?
The Behavioral Health Unit is a voluntary unit; therefore all patients must sign a voluntary consent form to be treated. The program does not take involuntary or court committed patients.

What are the symptoms of those who should seek treatment?
Commonly seen symptoms for which a person may seek treatment include:

  • Suicidal behavior and/or thoughts of harming self
  • Self-mutilative or assaultive behavior
  • Sleep or eating disturbances
  • Severe agitation
  • Medication noncompliance
  • Severe mood swings
  • Excessive and uncontrolled anger
  • Thought disturbance or distorted perception of reality


What are some of the treatment groups?
The Program offers a variety of treatment groups, including:

  • Group psychotherapy
  • Coping skills group
  • Goals group
  • Wellness education group
  • Medication education group
  • Art therapy


What is a typical length-of-stay for patients?
Generally, most patients are treated for a period of 7 to 10 days. The length of stay is highly individualized and dependent on a number of factors, including medical needs, placement issues and follow-up care. The goal of the Behavioral Health Unit is to provide all patients with an individualized treatment plan that best suits their particular needs and diagnosis.

Will insurance cover a patient’s care in the program?
Please contact your individual insurance provider to inquire if treatment is covered. Many insurance plans are accepted by the hospital. Often, private insurance companies may cover part or most of the cost of care, as does Medicare and Medicaid. 

When are visiting hours?
Monday through Friday: 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Weekends: 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m.
Exceptions to this may be granted through the patient’s physician.

What is NeuroStar® TMS Therapy?
The NeuroStar® Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy system is the first and only device of its kind to be approved for the treatment of depression by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (October 2008). The device is clinically proven for the treatment of major depression in adults who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication. 

NeuroStar® TMS Therapy is a 40-minute outpatient procedure that is prescribed by a psychiatrist, does not require anesthesia or sedation, and patients remain awake and alert. The treatment is typically administered five days a week for 4-6 weeks.

Learn More
Click here for a brief, informative narrated presentation about the inpatient program.

 
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