Frequently Asked Questions
How does someone get admitted to Carrier Clinic?
If there is a psychiatric emergency, and your loved one is taken to the ER or Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services (PESS) center, an evaluation will be done. If it is determined that your loved one needs to be hospitalized, you may request that the staff call Carrier to arrange for an admission.
Prospective patients, family members and referring professionals can call Carrier Clinic’s Access center for more information or to schedule an evaluation for a possible admission. Carrier Clinic’s Access Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be reached by calling: 800-933-3579.
If your loved one is already receiving outpatient treatment, a therapist or psychiatrist may call Carrier Clinic to make the referral for inpatient treatment. The procedure for hospital admission for a psychiatric illness resembles the process you would do for a med-surg hospitalization. Often, that means a person’s health insurance company may require a pre-admission certification before agreeing to pay for a hospitalization. Working with the psychiatrist, insurance company staff will review a patient’s case and decide if it requires inpatient care. If so, they will approve admission for a limited hospital stay then periodically review patient progress to determine whether the stay should be extended. If care is denied, the psychiatrist and patient may appeal.
What type of service does Carrier Clinic provide?
Carrier Clinic provides short-term, acute-care hospitalization for psychiatric illness and substance abuse for adolescents 12-18, adults 18-65 and older adults 60+. The decision to admit a patient to the hospital depends primarily on the severity of the patient’s illness. No one is sent to the hospital who can better be treated in a less restrictive setting, such as an outpatient therapist’s office.
What insurances do you accept?
Carrier Clinic participates in most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid (for patients under 18 and above 65). A prospective patient or family member should first call their insurance carrier to see what their mental health or substance abuse benefit covers and if Carrier Clinic is on the list as an approved provider.
What happens during the Admission Process?
Preliminary demographic information is generally collected during the first phone call, when the appointment for assessment is scheduled. Upon arriving at Carrier Clinic, a thorough examination and psychiatric assessment will be conducted by an Access Center clinician and LIP (Licensed Independent Practitioner), which could be a physician or an Advanced Practice Nurse to ensure that the patient meets inpatient criteria and is medically cleared. Once the assessment has determined the need for inpatient treatment, the patient will be admitted to the unit that best suits their needs.
What is the approximate length of stay?
The length of stay depends on a variety of factors and is different in every situation. Length of stay in an acute psychiatric hospital is contingent on medical necessity and the individual treatment plan. Because of this, the length of stay tends to be short, ranging from 3 to 10 days.
What can my loved one bring?
Carrier Clinic provides a list of appropriate items to promote a safe and therapeutic environment. This list is not comprehensive. Other items which could potentially be used in a dangerous way will be evaluated by staff upon admission.
Items that are Appropriate for Admission:
- Clothing-approximately one week’s worth
- Casual Street Clothes (avoid items with drawstrings)
- Limited Toiletries (no glass or mirrors)
- List of Current Medications
- Electric Razor
- Disposable Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Change/Phone Card
- Hairspray; alcohol free (pump only)
- Limited Make-up (original plastic bottles required)
- Tampons and Pads
- Insurance Card
- Cash (in amounts up to $150)
Items Not Appropriate for Admission:
- Food/Caffeinated Beverages
- Drugs or Alcohol (this includes toiletries that contain alcohol)
- Perfume/Cologne, Aerosol cans
- Razors or Sharp Items (i.e. nail clippers, tweezers)
- Curling Irons, hair dyes, bleaches, curlers or picks
- Weapons of Any Kind (i.e. knives, mace, etc.)
- Wire Hangers (plastic hangers are permitted)
- Revealing Clothing (i.e. tank tops, tight clothing, short skirts / shorts, shirts with alcohol, drug or gambling logos)
- Opened Packs of Cigarettes
- Electrical Equipment
- Anything Valuable
- Cell Phones, Pagers, Palm Pilots, Computers, Televisions, Tape Recorders, CD Players, Radio/Tape/MP3 Players, etc.
- Cameras or other recording devices
- Expensive Jewelry
- Any Toxic Material (white-out, glue, etc)
- Cash (in amounts exceeding $150)
Do they need to provide their own linens? What about laundry?
Fresh towels and wash clothes will be distributed to patients every morning. Washers and dryers are available on each unit for laundering of personal items, but family members are encouraged to bring laundry home with them.
What is done with my loved one's valuables and personal belongings?
Jewelry, cash, credit cards and other valuables should be sent home with a family member or secured in the hospital safe during your loved one’s stay. Hospital policy limits the amount of cash one person can have in their possession at $30.00. Amounts in excess of $150.00 will be converted to a check from Carrier Clinic payable to the patient. Special containers can be made available for personal items such as dentures, hearing aids, glasses and prosthetics.
What should I expect after I leave the hospital?
You and your treatment team, including the psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, addiction counselor, clinical case manager and mental health technician, will work together to determine an appropriate aftercare plan.
How can I request my Medical Records?
You may call our Medical Records Department at 908-281-1479 for assistance, or you may download the form, fill it out and fax it back to 908-281-1671.
What time will I be discharged?
Discharge time is no later than 1:00 p.m. Family members and friends picking up patients are asked to be at the hospital at discharge time.
While At Carrier Clinic
Can I reach my loved one by phone?
Pay phones are located on all units for use by patients at specific break times during the day. Once admitted, your loved one can share with you the phone number and appropriate time to call him/her. We recommend patients bring a phone card with them for convenience. Phone cards can be purchased at Carrier Clinic.
Can family call to get updates on a patient's progress?
Families are encouraged to actively participate in their loved one’s treatment, including getting progress reports. One family member should be designated to call for updates and then have this individual share the information with other family members. Please remember, a Release of Information form must be signed by the patient allowing clinical staff to disclose any information. During normal workday hours, the Clinical Case manager assigned to the patient can assist with this; after 5pm and on weekends, the Nursing Supervisor must be contacted at 908-281-1000.
Release of Information: At the time of admission, patients are able to complete a form that asks them to identify specific individuals (a family member, physician, agency, etc.) who may receive information regarding that patient’s status and treatment.
What is the Confidentiality Policy at Carrier Clinic?
Important Points to Remember:
If anyone calls Carrier Clinic asking for information about a patient, their presence here will neither be confirmed nor denied. Patients must give written consent to allow your treatment team to release information. Patients are asked to keep confidential the knowledge of the presence of other persons in treatment, both during treatment and after. Visitors are also asked to respect the confidentiality of others here at Carrier Clinic.
Who is their Social Worker (Clinical Case Manager) and Psychiatrist?
The doctor and Clinical Case Manager are assigned the first business day (Monday through Friday) after admission. If someone is admitted on a Saturday or Sunday, they will be seen by an LIP and an attending LIP will be assigned the next business day. If consent has been given by the adult patient, the Clinical Case Manager will call a designated point person to establish contact and give status reports.
How often will my loved one meet with the Clinical Staff?
In the hospital, patients will meet with their psychiatrist, APRN or other LIP once per day. Patients will meet with their Clinical Case Manager approximately three times a week.
How can I get information regarding my loved one's treatment?
A Release of Information form must be signed by the patient allowing clinical staff to disclose any information. During business hours, the Clinical Case manager assigned to the patient can assist with this; after 5 p.m. and on weekends, the Nursing Supervisor must be contacted at 908-281-1000.If no one has contacted you, you may call 908-281-1000 and ask to leave a message for the Physician’s secretary. These messages are always forwarded to the assigned Clinical Case Manager. The Clinical Case Manager can only call you back if the patient has given consent.
Who do I speak to about the medications my loved one is taking?
You may speak to the Doctor, Nurse or Clinical Case Manager to discuss medications if a Consent for Release of Information has been assigned to you.
Is smoking permitted at Carrier Clinic?
Smoking is not permitted in the hospital. There are designated smoking areas and breaks made available during the day, with the exception of the Adolescent Unit. Cigarettes and smoking related items found on the Adolescent Unit will be confiscated and returned to the family upon discharge. Focusing on wellness and recovery, smoking cessation education and medication is available based on individual treatment plans.