Frequently Asked Questions about Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment Facilities

Frequently Asked Questions about Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment Facilities

Today marks the start of a few articles I’ll be writing about private inpatient psychiatric treatment facilities. This is thanks to our new sponsor, Timberline Knolls. The highly-trained staff at their facility have agreed to answer my, and your, questions about inpatient treatment facilities. Today we’ll be talking about the basics of inpatient treatment facilities including services offered, intake, what professionals are there and what it’s like to stay in a residential treatment facility.

What is staying at a residential treatment center like compared with a hospital?

Residential treatment provides a more home-like setting, not a locked or involuntary setting, there’s not an institutionalized feel to it.

What kind of services do you offer compared to a hospital?

At Timberline Knolls, there’s more opportunity to work on underlying causes rather than just symptoms of a mental illness and immediate stabilization. We address the woman as a whole person—mind, body, spirit—as well as the family system she comes from. Our goal is to allow people to become familiar with and practice new ways of thinking, believing and behaving that allows them to stay on a path of sustainable recovery. Another important component is the other women in treatment with them. People connect on a very deep level to others with similar experiences, and have the experience of belonging to an accepting and supporting community.

How do people come to your facility?

There are many ways—by a referral from outpatient therapy, IOP [intensive outpatient] or PHP [partial hospitalization] programs, inpatient hospitals, former residents/alumni, and many find us on their own through the Internet and other media.

Do people need a referral?

No referrals are needed.

What role do psychiatrists play in a residential treatment center?

Psychiatrists largely perform the initial psychiatric evaluation, determine the diagnoses/correct any misdiagnoses, and evaluate/adjust medication regimen. Much of our work is getting people off of medications that either aren’t working or are making things worse in some ways, and onto the simplest and most effective medication regimen for them. This is highly individualized; it depends on what the patient and family want, what they have tried before and collaboration with the outpatient psychiatrist.

Other than doctors, who else is part of the care team at an inpatient psychiatric treatment center?

It depends on the center, but at Timberline Knolls:

  • Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment FacilityA primary therapist for individual therapy
  • A family therapist for family sessions
  • A nutritionist
  • Speciality counselors as appropriate (eating disorder or addiction or trauma specialists)
  • An aftercare planner
  • A care coordination nurse (to help with insurance coverage)
  • A chaplain, if desired
  • In-facility nursing staff 24/7
  • In-facility mental health staff 24/7

We also have a large expressive therapy department including: dance movement, yoga, art and equine therapy. In addition, there is a spirituality program, as well as Christian therapy for those who request it.

What are the hurdles people face with regards to residential treatment and how do you help overcome these?

Just coming to treatment, and taking time away from family, home, work or school is a huge hurdle. Recognizing the need for it, that things are not going well to the point where they need intensive and longer treatment than a brief inpatient stay or outpatient therapy. And, obtaining funding for treatment through their own resources or insurance coverage. We rely on an outpatient team to help women commit to coming to residential treatment, sometimes interventionists help, and families as well.

[To help overcome these hurdles,] we have licensed therapists for our admission staff who speak with the family and resident before they are admitted to treatment and perform phone screens to make sure a woman needs our level of care and is likely to benefit from our program. We also provide insurance information with regards to what benefits a person has in their plan and whether or not insurance is likely to pay for residential treatment at this time.

What assessments are done of the person’s abilities? What is done to address areas of weakness?

There are assessments before and after admission. The before admissions assessments get a picture of any medical issues, current diagnoses, past treatment attempts, and major areas of impairment/reason for seeking residential treatment at this time. After admission, a psychiatrist evaluation is done, a primary and family therapy assessment, a spirituality assessment, psychological testing if necessary, a nursing and medical assessment. There are also expressive therapy and nutrition assessments.

How does a person know if a residential treatment center is for them?

They can visit and take a tour, read about us on the website, speak to alumni and speak to our admissions staff by calling 1-855-208-8139. Many people have an outpatient doctor or therapist who has had patients come to Timberline Knolls who can offer that experience as well.

These questions were answered by Dr. Kim Dennis a board-certified psychiatrist and CEO and Medical Director of Timberline Knolls.

If you have any questions about Timberline Knolls, call them at 877-257-9612.

I have a long list of questions submitted by readers that they would like answered by inpatient psychiatric treatment facility staff, and we’ll get to those over the next few weeks, but if you have something you’d like to see addressed, leave your question in a comment below and I’ll see that it gets incorporated.


About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.

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