Adult mental health inpatient types of care

Inova offers several types of inpatient behavioral healthcare. They include:

  • Short-term, acute mental health care on one of our inpatient psychiatric units
  • Psychiatric consultation services for hospitalized patients (on medical or surgical units)
  • Electroconvulsive (ECT) therapy

Adult mental health inpatient units

For individuals who are in crisis, or who may be at risk of harming themselves or others, Inova has 93 adult inpatient psychiatric beds at three of our hospitals:

  • Inova Fairfax Hospital (41 beds)
  • Inova Mount Vernon Hospital (30 beds)
  • Inova Loudoun Hospital (22 beds)

The goal of our adult inpatient psychiatric program is to keep people safe while they work to regain stability. Treatment plans are highly individualized developed in collaboration with the patient and the patient’s family. Our goal is to collaborate with the patient. We see ourselves as the patient’s partners – fellow team members dedicated to the patient’s well-being.

Typically, an adult inpatient stay lasts five to seven days. We begin planning for discharge on day one, establishing goals and helping patients progress toward them so that they can return home as soon as possible.

  • Detailed intake assessment and psychiatric evaluation
  • Collaborative, patient-centered approach to treatment with a multidisciplinary team
  • Patient-directed goal setting
  • Skill-based interventions that build on each patient’s strengths
  • Safety planning, with a focus on suicide prevention
  • A variety of group therapy sessions, designed to build skills in problem solving, communication, assertiveness and stress reduction, as well as groups based around specific diagnoses or patient histories
  • Psychiatric care from a physician who collaborates with the patient to determine which medications will be prescribed
  • Round-the-clock nursing care to administer and monitor medications
  • Daily individual check-ins with therapists
  • Discharge planning and transition to next level of care

Each adult inpatient psychiatric unit is staffed with a rich mix of behavioral health experts who work together to help patients understand their diagnoses and develop the skills to navigate their lives successfully. Team members include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, nurses and other clinical staff.

Inova Fairfax Hospital
Inpatient Adult Psychiatric Unit
Physician Supervisor: Rachel Bronsther, MD

Inova Loudoun Hospital
Inpatient Adult Psychiatric Unit
Physician Supervisor: Imran Abassi, MD

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital
Inpatient Adult Psychiatric Unit
Physician Supervisor: Sumana Suresh, MD

Consult services

Individuals who are admitted to any of Inova’s hospitals for a medical reason and who also show symptoms of a behavioral health condition will be treated by Inova’s specialized staff of consultation-liaison psychiatrists.

Having psychiatric symptoms, such as feeling depressed or anxious, displaying psychotic symptoms, or expressing suicidal thoughts while in the hospital doesn’t necessarily mean that a person has a mental health condition. While it’s possible that the patient’s symptoms are caused by a psychiatric disorder, it’s also possible that a medical reason (like an infection) or a side effect from medication the patient is taking is causing those symptoms. In these situations, the healthcare team might consult with Inova’s psychiatry consultation-liaison team.

These psychiatric consultations are available anywhere in the hospital (other than the inpatient psychiatric units). Inova’s team of consultation-liaison psychiatrists is there to:

  • Evaluate patients who are showing symptoms of mental illness, determine the cause of those symptoms and make recommendations for treatment
  • Help care for patients with pre-existing behavioral health diagnoses while they are in the hospital for a medical reason

The medical care team can make arrangements for a psychiatric consultation in any of our five hospitals, if indicated.

Inova Behavioral Health Services offers psychiatric consultation services at each of the five hospitals with psychiatrists who specialize in collaborating with hospitalists, intensivists and other hospital-based specialists to care for patients admitted to the medical unit.

At Inova Alexandria Hospital, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, Inova Loudoun Hospital and Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, consultation services are provided by staff psychiatrists. At Inova Fairfax Hospital, our team also includes fellowship-trained consultation-liaison psychiatrists.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a safe, effective tool for managing many behavioral health problems, such as major depression, bipolar mania, schizophrenia and catatonia. Many mental illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. ECT works to reset those levels by adjusting some of the brain’s chemical pathways. After the treatment, these chemicals return to normal levels, improving the patient’s symptoms.

In this hospital-based procedure, patients are given short-acting anesthesia and a muscle relaxant, followed by a short, controlled, low-energy electric pulse. Most patients are fully awake within 30 minutes after ECT.

How the treatment process works:

  • The procedure takes place in the hospital, but it typically does not require an overnight stay.
  • ECT’s initial phase generally includes eight to 12 treatments, at a rate of about two treatments per week.
  • Many individuals begin to notice results after four to six treatments.
  • After the initial treatment phase, ongoing maintenance treatments are recommended.
  • Inova’s ECT team will work with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan designed to keep symptoms under control and maintain gains.

Our dedicated ECT team includes psychiatrists who are specially trained in ECT and are credentialed and certified to provide this service. Each member of our ECT nursing staff has attended the Nursing Fellowship Program at Duke University Medical Center and specializes in ECT patient care.

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital
Inpatient Adult Psychiatric Unit
Staff Psychiatrist: Sumana Suresh, MD