Our hospitals provide a safe environment for mental health treatment and support.
What can I expect during my stay in hospital?
Coping with mental illness can be difficult for both the person experiencing the illness as well as their families and friends.
The unit is meant to provide a safe environment for treatment and support from a team of staff that includes, nurses, a medical doctor, a psychiatrist (mental health doctor), social workers, a pharmacist, a recreation therapist, an occupational therapist, clerks, a health care support staff, and a peer support worker (a person who has also struggled with mental illness and has recovered or is managing their illness well). During your stay you may meet all or some of these team members, depending on your needs.
To ensure your safety as well as the safety of others on the unit, the nursing staff will store your personal items such as scissors, knives, belts and glass objects in a secure space until you are ready to leave hospital.
The nurse will also ask you for any medications that you have been taking before coming to hospital to ensure that those medications do not interfere with your current treatment in hospital.
How long do I have to stay in hospital?
The length of stay in hospital is different for each person because everyone recovers at different pace. How long you stay in hospital will be determined by how quickly your mental health concerns respond to the medications and supports you receive in hospital or when you are able to continue your treatment safely in the community with supports. Our goal is to get you home as soon as you are ready.
What should I know about sharing my health care and personal information?
We understand that family or social support can be a very important part of a person’s treatment and recovery of mental illness.
As a way to respect and protect your privacy and confidentiality we encourage you to choose a family member or support person whom you would like to include or involve in your treatment and recovery plan while you are in hospital.
If the staff does not give you a consent form or a Near Relative form to sign, you can ask them for one. This will allow staff to speak with your family or support person and share the information you wish to share.
How will I be assessed and treated at the hospital?
Your nurse will review your chart and may ask additional information about:
- What mental health problems you are having
- The history of these problems
- Related problems
- Family information that relates to the problems
- How you have tried to manage this problem in the past
- Other relevant or clarifying questions
Your nurse may also check your blood pressure, pulse and temperature and take your height and weight. You will receive some general information about your unit and the nurse will show you your room.
Psychiatrist (mental health doctor)
The psychiatrist will meet with you and discuss your mental health concerns and treatment/wellness plan. Depending on your mental health concern, the psychiatrist will review and prescribe medications that work for you. It is important to speak with your doctor and nurse about how the medications are working or not working for you.
The social worker is able to support you with planning to leave the hospital, family issues, counselling, legal concerns, finances, navigating the systems or linking you to community resources and other social issues that may be impacting your life due to mental illness.
The occupational therapist can support you with building on life skills and other areas of your life that may be impacted by the mental illness.
Other team members
Other team members such as a vocational counsellor, peer support worker, health care support staff, pharmacist and recreation therapist can also support you in their various roles on the unit. Please speak to your care provider if you feel you would benefit from meeting with other team members. Learn more about your care team.
What should I bring to the hospital?
For your comfort you can bring slippers, toiletries and a few changes of comfortable clothing to wear.
If you wear eyeglasses, dentures or hearing aids we encourage you to store them safely with your belongings on the unit when they are not in use. These items can get misplaced or lost easily on meal trays, tissue boxes, or other spaces. The nurse can provide you with a storage container for your dentures if you don’t have one.
Valuable items such as cash, jewelry or other personal things that are important to you are usually safer at home. We encourage you to ask your family or friend to store your important items at home if possible, during your stay in hospital.
What group activities are available at the hospital?
Group activities are generally offered on the unit but these groups may be different across the hospitals in Fraser Health. Some of the topics and subjects that are discussed in these groups may include the following:
- Life skills
- Art therapy
- Relaxation training
- Stress management
- Unit meetings
- Pet therapy
- Medication group
- Concurrent disorders (substance use and mental health)
Groups can provide you with an opportunity to learn from other patients and gain feedback around life skills and social support.
What can I do to prepare to go home?
We are committed to providing the best possible care for you, and we will work with you to get you home as soon as possible.
Planning to get you home begins at the time of your admission so your care team has time to help you work through areas where you may need support. We believe that in most cases, home is the best place to continue your recovery once a crisis is over.
Based on your mental wellness and recovery goals you will meet with various members of your care team on a regular basis to work with you on achieving those goals to get you home.