United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Washington DC VA Medical Center

Inpatient Psychiatry

Inpatient psychiatry is a 28-bed locked unit on the third floor of the medical center where veterans, at risk to themselves or others, are admitted for intense mental health care. Patients have severe and persistent psychiatric disorders, including medical and substance abuse diagnoses. Many of these high-risk veterans typically present with acute psychiatric symptoms, which often coincide with severe psychosocial and environmental stressors.

Patients are admitted voluntarily, referred from other programs within or outside of the medical center, or may be committed involuntarily due to their elevated risk. An interdisciplinary treatment team assesses and monitors patients throughout their hospital stay starting with admission assessments, treatment planning sessions, one-on-one counseling or psychotherapy, group treatment and milieu activities. There are numerous training experiences available to psychology externs and interns to experience day-to-day psychological services on the unit and to join in and contribute information about psychological/personality functioning that is relevant to patient treatment and care.

There is currently a psychologist assigned to the inpatient psychiatry unit who is a member of the treatment team and provides group and individual psychotherapy. There is a sign-up for patients interested in or referred to individual therapy and the psychologist has regular "office hours" on the unit when vets can drop-in for brief one-on-one interventions or support.