The following is information that patients and visitors may find helpful.
Unit Rules and Routines
Space is limited. We encourage you to keep personal items and amount of clothing to a minimum. Any belongings you choose to keep with you are your responsibility, as the hospital will not be able to replace lost items. Valuables, such as money and jewelry, should be sent home.
For patients who do not have their own essential items, the hospital has soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouthwash available.
The following items will be kept in a locked storage area and may be signed out for your use and then returned to storage after use. Use of these items may be denied if staff assessment shows that you are at risk for self-harm or to harm others:
- Safety razors, scissors, nail clippers, tweezers or other “sharps”
- Aerosol spray cans
- Hair dryers, electric shavers, curling irons and other electric appliances
To insure unit safety, the following items are not allowed:
- Metal coat hangers
- Glass items
- Sewing kit
- Video recorder
- Aluminum cans
- Outside food items
- Weapons: gun, knives, or any item that could be used to harm yourself or anyone else
- Alcohol or illegal substances
- Medication (including over the counter medicines and vitamins): must be turned in to staff upon admission, or sent home with a family member
- Cigarette lighter or matches
- Plastic bags
- Personal television set/computer/cell phone/beeper
- Radio, tapes, CDs or tape player
Your treatment team may also restrict other items if they present a risk to unit safety.
When you are ready for discharge, any personal items that are locked up will be returned to you.
Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center is a smoke-free facility. Therefore, the behavioral health units, including all outpatient areas, are also non-smoking. Your physician may order a nicotine patch or nicotine gum for nicotine withdrawal.
There are three telephones in the therapeutic community that patients may use. These are located outside the TV room door, in the dayroom and in the back hall. As a courtesy to other patients, please limit your phone conversations to 10 minutes. Telephones will not be available during group times, as this would distract from important program activities. Phones will be brought into the nurses’ station at 10 p.m. and will be put back out at 7 a.m.
Socialization is an important part of your recovery. The TV room is available during free time. Please consider others regarding program selection (majority rules). TVs are turned off during group sessions and from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
You may mail items by placing them at the nurses’ station. Outgoing mail will not be delayed or censored. Incoming mail, as with other personal items, must be opened in the presence of staff to insure no item or substance that could be dangerous to you or others is within the package or envelope. Staff will not read your mail.
Visiting Hours and Restrictions
Visiting will be in the day area, dining room or other open areas. Visitors are not permitted in patient rooms unless approved by a nurse. Refer to the daily schedule for specific visiting hours.
If your family members cannot come at visiting times due to work or other constraints, a physician order is needed for visitation at other times. Guidelines are in place to keep visitation manageable and to avoid over-stimulation in the therapeutic community. The following apply unless approved otherwise by your physician and the treatment team:
- Visitation during group therapy is not permitted.
- The number of visitors is limited to two per patient.
- Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to visit.
- Former patients are not permitted to visit the unit unless they are coming to visit a family member.
A family meeting, or session, could help with your transition home, or if there is a situation to be addressed. The social worker will speak with you and your family members and arrange this if ordered by the psychiatrist.
Therapeutic Leave of Absence
Your physician may order a leave of absence (LOA) from the hospital for specific reasons. Examples are to visit home the day before discharge (to see how it goes) for scheduled medical appointments or to visit a facility you may be going to. If a leave of absence is ordered, you will need to complete paperwork prior to leaving. LOAs are written for a certain number of hours and you may not remain out over night.
Dress on the unit is casual. Shorts and skirts must be no shorter than 4” above the knee.
T-shirts, hats or other clothing with profanity or obscene writing are not permitted. Sleepwear with a robe may be worn after 9:30 p.m. and before breakfast unless you have a physical condition that requires sleepwear. Shoes or slippers are to be worn in all areas of the community.
All meals are served on the unit.
Please ask staff members when you need towels, washcloths, sheets, blankets and/or pillowcases. It is your responsibility to change your linens unless you are physically unable to do so. Environmental Services staff will empty trash, mop floors, vacuum, dust and clean bathrooms. Maintenance problems should be reported to unit staff members.
You may receive flowers. Containers must be unbreakable and arrangements must not contain metal wire. Staff may ask that you keep balloons, flowers and plants at the desk if the arrangement is questionable for safety.
The staff will awaken you at 6 a.m. each morning for vital signs. Patients are expected to get out of bed at the first wake-up call. Staff will assist anyone unable to get up on their own.
Personal laundry should be taken care of by friends or family members. A washer and dryer are available for urgent needs only.
The unit is structured to encourage supportive relationships between all community members. However, physical contact and sexually activity is not allowed. To respect other patient’s privacy, visiting is not permitted in other patient’s rooms. We discourage patients from sharing personal phone numbers and addresses. Loaning money to other patients is also not allowed. The unit is an environment where all people need to feel safe. Consequently any physical assault or verbal threats are not tolerated. Should a conflict between patients occur, please inform staff so they may assist. We ask that each person clean up after themselves and to share in the responsibility of keeping the day room neat and clean.
Suspension and Expulsion
Patients may be suspended or expelled from any of the behavioral health programs for any of the following behaviors:
- Drug or alcohol use while in treatment program
- Repeated smoking on the unit after confiscation of smoking materials and informing/reminding of nonsmoking facility
- Sexual activity
- Repeated violent and assaultive behavior
- Deliberate disruption to the treatment community
- Ongoing refusal to participate in the programs
Use of Seclusion or Restraint
If a patient becomes dangerous to self or others while on the inpatient unit, the staff will exercise the necessary restraints, seclusion and/or medication to protect to patient or others from harm.