By: Mike Shery
As a parent, you are likely to be one of the first to recognize when your child may have a serious emotional or behavioral problem. What do you do first? What if someone you consulted has recommended that your child be hospitalized in a psychiatric facility?
Before doing anything else, gently engage your child in a dialogue about his or her feelings. You should also discuss your concerns with your kids teachers, coaches, school counselors or any other adults who may know him or her well. In many circumstances, this alone may be sufficient to begin the process of a sound resolution to the problem without more serious interventions, like hospitalization.
However, the following are some red flags which would indicate that it may be appropriate for you to assess the need for professional treatment options, such as, a psychiatric evaluation.
If you discover that your child has been sexually abused, delinquent, abusing drugs or alcohol or getting in trouble with the law, you may feel furious or panicked. As a matter of fact, you may not know what to say or do.
At this point it may be appropriate to consult a mental health professional ,apprise him or her of the situation, and ask for a recommendation.
If treatment in a psychiatric facility was recommended for your child, you may be frightened and confused. Hospitalization can be one of a range of viable options for your son or daughter. As a parent, however, you will gain a better understanding of your childs proposed treatment by receiving answers to the following questions:
1. Exactly why is inpatient treatment being recommended and how is it supposed to help?
2. What other alternatives are appropriate for my son or daughter besides treatment in a hospital, and how do they compare?
3. Specifically, what type of therapies will be included while he or she is in the hospital and how are they better than outpatient therapy?
4. How will our child be able to keep up with his or her school work while in the facility?
5. Will my child receive in depth psychological testing and psychotherapy by a clinical psychologist while hospitalized? Or will the treatment mainly consist of drug therapy by a psychiatrist?
6. How long do you expect that our child will be in the hospital, what are the fees and what avenues are open to us to pay for these services?
7. If the insurance company denies or severely restricts coverage and we can no longer afford to keep our child in the hospital, what alternatives are available if inpatient treatment is still necessary?
8. As parents, how will we be involved in our childs treatment, including the decision for his or her discharge and after-care? Will we be attending family counseling sessions regularly?
9. What criteria will be used to discharge our kid from the facility?
10. When our child is discharged, will it be necessary for him or her to receive follow-up care? If so, will it include regular psychotherapy to get to the heart of the matter, or just refinement of the medication plan? How will the family be involved and how much will it cost?
Hospital treatment is an important matter. You should raise the above questions before your child or adolescent is admitted to the hospital. It is crucial that you are informed and included as part of your childs treatment. Only then can you become all important contributors to it.
If after asking the above questions, you still have concerns, never hesitate to get a second opinion.
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He’s an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt or learn more about counseling at: www.carypsychology.com