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FAQs and Discharge Planning

Frequently Asked Questions

Will your team communicate with my child’s current doctor or therapist?
Yes, we can collaborate with your child’s current mental health providers with a release of information signed preferably at the beginning of treatment during the admissions process.

Will you hold a spot for my child if I consent for treatment?
We can’t promise to hold a spot for our programs until all aspects of admissions process is completed, but we can assist you each step of the way and place your child on waiting list.

Is Laurel Heights Academy a real school that my child will be attending while in treatment?
Yes, Laurel Heights Academy is a real school, fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools and is classified as a Dekalb County private school. When your child is admitted into our residential program, you will need to withdraw him or her from his current school.

Can my child have their favorite blanket or favorite toy?
We strongly suggest that you keep all expensive and sentimental items at home. We can’t replace these items and their loss or destruction while in our care may cause agony for your child. We also recommend not sending irreplaceable clothing or of high value. Despite our best efforts to deter patients from swapping clothing, sometimes it does happen by patient choice when sizes are similar. We provide all hygiene products and bed linens.

When can I visit my child?
For our short-term acute programs, your child’s therapist will contact you to arrange visitation and our Behavior Analyst will contact you to schedule family training sessions. In our longer-term residential programs, visitation is every Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m.– 4 p.m. We also have lunch visitation and family meals provided on major holidays.

How long will my child be in treatment?
Each patient’s treatment plan is individualized to the goals needed to return a child back to home, school and community based on medical necessity guidelines. Broadly, we have a 14-day clinical pathway for acute treatment. Our residential program’s length of stay varies between two months to seven months dependent upon the severity of the patient’s mental health symptoms. Family therapy is held weekly. Parents are encouraged to do face-to-face sessions; if unable, Laurel Heights Hospital can facilitate web therapy with free Zoom application.

What if my child needs medical treatment while receiving psychiatric treatment?
Laurel Heights Hospital is located within five miles of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Emergency Room. We have around the clock nursing staff at Laurel Heights Hospital and trained Mental Health Technicians to report changes in a child’s behavior, or if a child voices a health concern. Our psychiatrists are also available 24 hours a day to direct a patient to be taken by ambulance to the nearest ER if need be.

My child has food allergies. How can those foods be avoided?
Laurel Heights Hospital is a peanut-free hospital and we take great care in making sure our patients stay out of harm’s way with allergies. You must communicate your child’s allergies to the admissions department and nursing department. Our dietary department receives a list of food allergens per patient and prepares meals to avoid them as approved by our dietician.

Discharge Planning

The discharge planning process begins at the time the child or adolescent is admitted to Laurel Heights Hospital. At admission or shortly thereafter, we establish a discharge goal and establish a discharge plan. We ask parents/guardians to provide names and contact numbers for the outpatient mental health providers that have worked with the patient prior to admission so that we can coordinate with them in planning aftercare.

During psychiatric treatment plan review process, the discharge plan and expected date of discharge are reviewed by the treatment staff, including the family/guardian to ensure that it remains appropriate. As progress is made in treatment, the treatment staff makes recommendations for aftercare services to ensure that needed services are in place for when the patient transitions back home or to a step-down program.

Good discharge planning provides the patient and family/guardian with the therapeutic supports needed to ensure that the patient maintains the gains they made while at Laurel Heights and addresses incomplete goals established during treatment and any problems that may arise following discharge. It is important all of these supports and services are established prior to discharge to ensure a smooth transition.

Discharge Criteria

The criteria will vary according to each patient’s specific circumstances and needs. In general, a patient is ready for discharge when their behavior stabilizes to the point that they no longer require a psychiatric residential setting to address treatment issues. This means that the patient’s behavior is stabilized, not that they have addressed all their issues.

Discharge Procedure

The psychiatric treatment staff will provide recommendations for services and set up aftercare appointments. If the patient is to be discharged with medications, the attending physician will write the appropriate prescriptions. Members of the treatment staff will meet with parents/guardians to review discharge instructions, safety plans and medications. We will also ask that parents/guardians complete a satisfaction survey.

We’re Here to Help

Laurel Heights Hospital’s professional staff are ready to help find the best treatment options for your child. Call 404-888-5475 for a no-cost, confidential assessment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need immediate medical assistance, contact 911 or seek the nearest emergency room.