Crisis Hotline
(715) 845-4326 or
1-800-799-0122

FAQ - Inpatient Guide

May I smoke on the Behavioral Health Unit or on the grounds of North Central Health Care Facilities?

Due to health concerns related to tobacco use and the desire of North Central Health Care to promote a healthy environment both inside the facility and on its grounds the management of the facility has chosen to not allow smoking by Staff, Clients/patients, visitors or guests within the facility or on the grounds. If the Client is a tobacco user while inpatient on the Behavioral Health Unit nicotine supplements may be prescribed by the medical provider.

Is the facility an Inpatient drug and alcohol long term rehabilitation program and what medications are used?

The inpatient unit is a short term generally one to three day detoxification program. The patient is released to an Outpatient program when considered medically stable.  The voluntary admission of clients for drug detoxification will be accepted if the client is actively engaged in counseling or other treatment program for the past two months first. Opiates are not used as part of treatment.

Do I have a private room? Bathroom?

Rooms are either double or four bedrooms. All rooms have a shared bathroom with a shower. There are no televisions or telephones in patient rooms. There is a telephone in the common are for use during free time.

About how much does it cost to stay on the Behavioral Health Unit per day?

The cost is approximately $1000 per day including the Psychiatric, Social work, and medication costs. Some of the costs may be paid by insurance(s) but ultimately are the responsibility of the Client or the Patient. It is always recommended when possible to check with your insurance prior admission to understand your coverage.

Will I be prescribed the medications I desire when I am on the Behavioral Health Unit?

Every effort is made to maintain your comfort and safety on the Behavioral Health Unit. The psychiatrist will be consulted after your admission and depending on the type of medication you currently are prescribed and the reason for your admission you may not receive the medications you may desire. Behavioral Health Unit Staff will always be willing to explain why particular medications have not been prescribed.

Will there be a medical doctor available if I get sick (examples: flu, virus, cold, earache, etc.)?

There is a Nurse Practitioner/Physician’s Assistant available to provide medical care in the a.m. and by pager.

What is the youngest age that is able to be admitted to the Behavioral Health Unit?

The behavioral Health Unit is certified by the State of Wisconsin to accept individuals with appropriate conditions as young as age 13. Younger individuals when appropriate may be considered for admission to the Youth Crisis Services when available.

Is information about my loved one kept private and confidential?

Patients and staff are required to maintain confidentiality at all times. The information contained in your medical record is confidential. It is a legal requirement that North Central Health Care receive specific authorization prior to releasing this information. Authorization may be granted by completing a Release of Information form (ROI).

Could I or my loved one be arrested for aggressive behavior?

It is rare, but the answer is yes. If a staff is injured, they have the right to press charges.

When do you use restraint and how does that work?

Restraint is not a treatment modality, but a last resort safety intervention when an imminent risk of danger to the individual or others exists. (A copy of the Seclusion and Restraint Philosophy and Policy will be given to the patient and or guardian at their request.)

What is seclusion?

Seclusion is not a treatment modality, but a last step safety intervention utilized to keep patients and others safe when behaviors presented pose an immediate risk of danger.

Do the patients get fresh air and exercise?

Weather permitting and with special privileges with staff the patients may be allowed outside.

What is the usual length of stay on an inpatient unit?

The average length of stay is two to five days. Your loved one’s plan of care will determine how long he or she stays on the unit. The decision to discharge your one will be based upon his/her safety and if she / he can be managed in a less restrictive environment.

Are the patients ever taken off the locked unit? If so, why?

Yes. Those who have earned attended privileges may leave the unit with staff/family supervision for special privileges earned.

What is Milieu or Group Therapy?

The milieu is a safe and therapeutic setting which encourages positive change. Milieu means the totality of an environment. Group therapy is a mode of treatment that uses social interactions of the group to examine mental health issues. Group topics are determined by the participants needs. Topics may include: Social skills, Coping skills, self-expression, life skills or anger management.

Does my loved one receive individual therapy?

Mental Health Specialists and nurses may initiate one to one sessions. Mental Health Specialists/Psych Techs and Occupational Therapy assist your loved one with setting daily goals to work on and learning new skills that can help them cope. They will do this in group therapy, recreational and therapeutic activities.

Tell me about the staff working on the unit…What are their qualifications? Is there always a nurse? Is there always a doctor available?

The nurses on the units are Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who have had training in managing a therapeutic environment. They work directly on the unit and provide your loved one with any needed medical care. Nurses are assigned on a shift-by-shift basis and provide the hour-to-hour care component of the unit. Mental Health Specialists (Psych Techs), educated about mental illness and therapeutic interventions, work directly on the unit with the patients. These staff members assist your loved one with setting daily goals to work on and learning new skills that can help them cope. Mental Health Specialists/Psych Techs are assigned on a shift-by-shift basis and help provide the 24-hour care component on the unit. There is always a Psychiatrist who can be reached by pager.

If I have questions, whom do I ask?

Direct your questions to your treatment team Charge Nurse and Social Worker during the day hours.  Questions during the evening hours should be directed to The Charge Nurse. You are welcome to phone the unit anytime to inquire about your loved one. Call with any unresolved questions or concerns, 715-848-4331.

Does the psychiatrist come to the family meeting?

The psychiatrist’s schedule alters on a daily basis and may not be available for family meetings. It is not standard practice for the psychiatrist to attend family meetings.

What is a team or family meeting?

The goal of the family meeting is to gather family perspectives of your loved one’s needs and to involve the family with Discharge Planning. Your treatment team social worker attends as does any outpatient provider that may be invited.

When do I get to see and talk to my psychiatrist?

You will meet with the psychiatrist the day following your admission. After the first day you will meet daily with the psychiatrist for assessment and medication management. The doctor's focus is on patient care. Your liaison to the doctor is the nurse care manager.

Who is my attending psychiatrist?

Your medical doctor is a board certified psychiatrist through the state of WI.

Can Client’s bring pillows, blankets or stuffed toys onto the Behavioral Health Unit?

Blankets and pillows are provided by the unit. Staff generally discourage bringing of these items onto the unit for health reasons to the Patients/Clients.  If the Client /Patient would benefit from having a specific item with them the doctor may write an order to allow them to have those items during all or part of their stay on the Behavioral Health Unit. 

Do we need to bring toiletries? If so, what is allowed?

The hospital provides basic toiletries, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and shampoo. You are welcome to bring favorites from home, but staff will check to make sure the items are safe and suitable. Questionable items such as fingernail polish and hair gels are held in a locked storage area. Electric shavers, hair dryers, curling irons, etc., will be approved on a patient-by-patient basis and are also held in locked storage.

Are there snacks and beverages between meals?

Yes, there are scheduled snack times at 10:30 am and 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. You may bring food or snacks for your family member, however no caffeine allowed.

What kind of food do I get?

Individual meal tray service is used on the inpatient unit. Dietary needs are taken into consideration by the dietician. Upon arrival to the unit, the meal trays are obtained by the client/patient from the food delivery cart.

Where and when do we eat?

Meals are scheduled and are served on the unit. Meal times are 8:00 a.m. breakfast, 12:00 (noon) lunch and 5:30 p.m. for supper.

What about laundry?

Staff can use the washers and dryings in the unit to assist in laundering clothing items.

What kind of things may we bring and are electronic devices allowed?

You should bring an extra supply of clothing, socks and underwear, pajamas, a bathrobe, slippers and shoes. Cell phones, pagers, CD / MP3 players, cameras, hand-held game systems or other electronics are not permitted on the unit.

May I bring my (minor) children onto the Behavioral Health Unit?

Due to the types of illnesses and Clients/patients that reside on the unit it is not considered appropriate to bring children onto the unit. If the staff feel the Client/Patient is able to visit the children off the unit they will assist in finding a comfortable area for the visitation to occur.  It is always advisable to call the unit and talk to the nurse in charge during the time you wish to visit about making arrangements for this type of visitation.

May the patient make phone calls as well as long distance calls? When? How long?

Yes, patients are allowed to make phone calls during the times listed above. Two long distance phone calls are allowed per day for 10 minutes per call.

May other friends / family members call him / her?

Yes. Other family and friends are allowed to call to talk to the patient on the unit.

May I call?

Yes, you may call the unit. The unit phone numbers are listed under the directory. The best times to call are between times: 8:00-9:00 a.m., 12:00-1:00 p.m. and 3:00-9:00 p.m. So as to not disturb your loved one’s care, he or she will not be taken out of therapeutic groups unless it is an emergency. You may call the unit directly and ask for an alternative time to phone. If group sessions are occurring, phone times may be limited.

When can we visit?

Visiting hours are 5:30-7:00 pm on weekdays and 1:00-7:00 pm on Saturdays and Sunday.  Special accommodations may be arranged with unit staff for situational needs. Families are encouraged to visit routinely.