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KVC Hospitals

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Psychiatric Care: Defining Acute and Residential Treatment

What is psychiatric care?

Children and teens experiencing depression, anxiety, trauma or anger often develop disruptive and dangerous behaviors that parents can’t safely manage at home or in the community. Many times, these youth need help from professionals and require either acute or residential treatment at a psychiatric hospital. It’s natural for parents to have many questions about what treatment their child will require and how long they will be in care. Here’s some information to help families know what to expect:

Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Treatment

Youth entering acute psychiatric inpatient treatment typically exhibit behaviors or experience symptoms of suicide or self-harm, severe depression or anxiety, extreme anger or other dangerous behaviors that might prevent them from living safely in their home. Acute treatment is short-term care typically ranging from 3-7 days and designed to stabilize children so that they may safely return home along with the support they need to be successful.

Once the crisis is resolved, a treatment team works with the family to identify and coordinate follow-up care in their home and community and may refer them to local support programs. The goal is to safely reunify the youth with their family as quickly as possible and connect them with community providers so that they can remain successful and stable in their homes.

Residential Treatment

Youth entering residential treatment typically exhibit major depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, substance abuse disorders, mental illness or other behavioral issues. Residential treatment occurs for a longer period of time than acute. Youth in residential treatment typically remain in care for 45-60 days of treatment. A longer stay is necessary in order to evaluate each youth’s ongoing emotional, psychiatric or behavioral challenges and help them build the skills they need in order to stabilize and succeed following discharge from treatment.

KVC Hospitals’ Treatment and Services

Each year, KVC Hospitals serves thousands of children, adolescents, and adults who struggle with depression, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and feelings of violence. KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital located in Kansas City, Kansas and  KVC Wheatland Hospital located in Hays, Kansas both offer Inpatient Acute Psychiatric Treatment and Psychiatric Residential Treatment in modern, safe and secure environments. During treatment, individuals engage in family therapy, individual and group therapy, medication management, nursing services, family education and behavioral education. Children may also participate in psycho-educational and group activities, therapeutic games and other exercises that promote their social skills development.

Educational Services

While receiving residential treatment, KVC Hospitals provides educational services for children grades K-12 so they can stay on track with their schoolwork in a supportive environment. The KVC Academy is accredited and provides a positive educational experience for youth who historically have struggled to attain academic success.

Trauma-Informed Approach

With an estimated 2 out of 3 youth being exposed to trauma before the age of 16, KVC integrated trauma-informed care throughout all of its programs. Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) and its subsequent adaptations provide effective, evidence-based services and interventions to address a child’s emotional needs as well as his or her social environment. This trauma-informed approach allows us to understand a child’s symptoms in the context of his or her world and help support them toward a safe and healthy future. Learn more: Healing From the Life-Long Effects of Childhood Trauma

Contact us with questions about your child’s treatment or if you know a child struggling with depression or experiencing thoughts of self-harm at 1-866-KVC-CARES (582-2273).


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