Inpatient Psychiatric Care

Inpatient Psychiatric Care

An acute psychiatric crisis often requires immediate care and oversight by trained mental health professionals. At El Camino Hospital we have the experience to provide expert, compassionate care.
The Inpatient Behavioral Health Services Program at El Camino Hospital is designed to help people who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression or mania, or may be experiencing altered thought processes. They may be unable to care for their needs or at risk of harming themselves or others. Our inpatient unit offers a safe, nonjudgmental environment where care is delivered with compassion and respect.

We offer separate areas for inpatient and acute care to provide the right therapeutic settings to meet people’s unique needs. The unit also offers an outdoor patio where people can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, when appropriate.

Expert, Personalized Care and Support

Upon admission, each person undergoes a multidisciplinary assessment process to ensure that treatment is structured to meet his or her needs. Through psycho-educational training and focused activities, we help people develop skills to manage their acute symptoms and begin the healing process.

Our team of mental health professionals draws from a wide range of therapies and techniques to create a treatment program that meets each person’s individual needs, including:
  • Individual, group and family therapy.
  • Symptom management and coping skills development.
  • Activity and occupational therapy.
  • Stress management and relaxation techniques.
  • Medications and medical stabilization.

Inpatient mental health services staff includes psychiatrists, registered nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and other mental health specialists. Our patient-satisfaction surveys consistently include positive feedback about our dedicated, compassionate professionals.

At discharge, each person will receive an individualized aftercare plan that’s been designed by the treatment team.

Emergency Assessments

Our psychiatric nurses are available to perform emergency assessments 24/7. To refer someone for hospitalization, call 650-988-8468 or 866-789-6089 (toll free) and ask to speak to a psychiatric emergency services nurse about a potential admission. 

If you or the person you’re concerned about is having suicidal thoughts, or if someone poses an immediate physical threat, call 911 immediately.

Psychiatric Holds

When a family member or friend is behaving dangerously or inappropriately due to uncontrolled mental illness, ensuring your loved one’s and others’ safety is a top priority. 

There are a few types of psychiatric holds that are only utilized under certain circumstances that can help your loved one get the help he or she needs, including:
  • 72-hour hold (5150) – A legal document that authorizes holding people against their will for evaluation and treatment of mental health conditions if they pose a danger to themselves or others, or are gravely disabled.
  • 14-day hold (5250) – Patients may be held longer than 72 hours if the psychiatrist believes they need continued treatment and are unwilling to stay voluntarily — the 14-day hold can be discontinued by a psychiatrist before 14 days if the person agrees to stay voluntarily or is no longer in an acute crisis.
  • Certification review hearing – A hearing that’s conducted by a court-appointed hearing officer to determine whether someone needs to continue hospital treatment or can be released from the hold and discharged. Patients are represented by a patients’ right advocate.
  • Temporary conservatorship – When someone needs long-term treatment, a psychiatrist can request a temporary conservatorship for 30 days for being gravely disabled. If the request is approved, the county appoints a conservator who’ll be responsible for the person’s living arrangements, financial and legal matters, and medical and mental health treatment. 

Program Admission

If you or someone you know is experiencing a psychiatric emergency, it’s critical to get expert help as soon as possible. People admitted to the inpatient program are referred by their doctor or therapist, or are admitted following an assessment in the emergency department. Occasionally, patients are transferred to El Camino Hospital from other facilities. 

Visiting Hours

Day 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Evening 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Holidays 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
*Visitors to the psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) must be 18 years or older. Children under 18 are permitted in the psychiatric acute care unit (PACU).

Talk to Someone

Inquire about services or get a physician referral. Our call-back and chat services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.