Psychiatry

support groupThe George Washington University Hospital has been a leader in providing behavioral healthcare to area residents for more than a century. Through innovative and comprehensive programs combined with a belief that each patient's success is the product of a team effort, GW Hospital continues to be the provider of choice for mental health treatment in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Psychiatric services at GW Hospital are built upon a commitment to excellence in patient care that enhances the opportunity for recovery and exceeds the expectations of patients and referral sources. Early assessments and treatment of behavioral health problems can help treatment for other medical illnesses, and help those patients with concomitant medical diagnoses to maximize their rehabilitation potentials.

Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization

The GW Hospital 20-bed unit for adults aged 18 and older offers a range of psychiatric and dual-diagnosis treatments. The unit offers a highly structured mental health treatment program with 24-hour nursing in a locked, secure setting. The short-term stabilization unit is designed to help patients move through a mental health crisis and gain the coping skills and resources necessary to successfully transition to the next stage of treatment. Each adult works with a multidisciplinary psychiatric team including a psychiatrist, social worker, nurses, mental health technicians and a therapist to identify and meet treatment objections and achieve stabilization.

Multiple treatments are provided, including:

  • A comprehensive psychiatric assessment
  • Medication evaluation
  • Comprehensive psychosocial assessment
  • Client-centered treatment planning
  • Psychoeducation
  • Individual, group and family therapy

The objective of inpatient hospitalization is to provide a safe, secure environment for patients experiencing an acute psychiatric crisis. The length of stay is based on each patient’s situation, ranging from a few days to a week. Treatment is focused to stabilize acute symptoms and assist each patient in accessing the resources, supports and skills necessary to move through the crisis and develop a successful plan to continue treatment in a less restrictive treatment setting following discharge.

Psychiatric Emergency Services

The George Washington University Hospital provides emergency psychiatric services 24 hours a day, seven days a week to evaluate patients who have a mental health concern or crisis. The psychiatric team works in consultation with emergency room physicians to provide specialized behavioral health assessments, including:

  • Comprehensive psychiatric assessments
  • Crisis intervention
  • Recommendations for level of care including inpatient psychiatric hospitalization
  • Referrals to appropriate mental health resources

Consult and Liaison Psychiatry Services

GW Consult and Liaison Services specialize in the evaluation and treatment of hospitalized patients who have medical as well as psychiatric concerns. The staff work collaboratively with the primary treatment team and administer the same high level of mental healthcare.

They are consulted on the following issues:

  • Participating in evaluation and management of altered mental status
  • Evaluation of cognitive impairment associated with dementia
  • Capacity to make informed decisions or to delegate those powers
  • Depression in the elderly or medically ill; as well as working with traditional medical patients with serious chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart failure and diabetes
  • Suicide attempts and suicidal ideations on the medical floors
  • Somatoform and factitious disorders
  • Non-epileptic seizures
  • Anxiety/agitation in the medically ill
  • Secondary anxiety, mood and psychotic disorders
  • AIDS-related secondary mental disorders
  • Substance abuse/mental illness-associated syndromes

The Staff

The GW Hospital Behavioral Health Services staff consists of:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychiatric registered nurses
  • Mental health technicians
  • Clinical social workers
  • Psychologists
  • Therapists

The George Washington University Hospital is a teaching hospital; the mental health team includes psychiatry interns, residents and medical students. Each patient works with a highly-skilled, committed and compassionate interdisciplinary team throughout the course of treatment.

The progressive treatment used in patient healing includes a wide range of conventional and advanced intervention techniques. Licensed and certified professionals with a team of advanced interns and trainees offer creative therapies as an essential part of therapeutic expansion, including individual therapies for focused exploration, therapeutic activities, art therapy, expressive therapy, holistic therapy, process groups, knowledge and skill activities and other specialized therapies. Mindfulness, exercise and yoga interventions conclude the therapy offering.

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Man with bookFor more information about our programs and services please call 202-715-5080.

Individuals who need admission to the inpatient psychiatry unit must go through The George Washington University Hospital Emergency Department to obtain a psychiatric assessment and medical clearance.

Psychiatric social workers and psychiatric residents are available to perform emergency psychiatric assessments 24 hours a day. To refer a patient for hospitalization or for further information, please call the inpatient psychiatry unit at 202-715-5080 and request to speak with the charge nurse.

Fast Track

For patients who have met with their outpatient mental health clinician within the past 24 hours, a Fast Track program is available. Fast Track ensures bed availability, reduces patient wait time in the emergency room, and provides for coordination with the inpatient psychiatrist for continuity of care. To get started, the outpatient mental health clinician must call and provide clinical information prior to the patient’s arrival.

For Fast Track referrals, please contact Meg Van Wyk at 202-715-6158 or Shana Palmieri at 202-715-5333 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Transfer from another facility or emergency room

Direct admissions to the inpatient psychiatry unit are available for patients with medical clearance who are being referred from another hospital or emergency department. For a patient transfer, please call the Behavioral Health Services Unit at 202-715-5080 and request to speak with the charge nurse.

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The George Washington University Hospital is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.          

The George Washington University Hospital

900 23rd St., NW
Washington, DC 20037
202-715-4000

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