An after-hours assessment usually takes place at an Emergency Department of a local hospital. A master level clinician, in conjunction with a psychiatrist if necessary, completes the assessment. An assessment may determine the need for immediate care in a hospital or another community residential alternative.
Making the Call
An Emergency Services Specialist or clinician will ask questions necessary to gather sufficient information in order to determine safety and evaluate any life-threatening situations. When you call after regular business hours you will be connected to an answering service and asked basic questions. An on-call clinician will be paged and will call you within ten or fifteen minutes.
A clinician will ask:
- Your name;
- Your address;
- Other basic demographic information; and
- To describe the difficulty you are experiencing.
During the phone conversation a plan that both you and the clinician are comfortable with will be developed. The plan might be for a referral to a provider, suggestions about how to handle your crisis until you see your on-going therapist or psychiatrist, or an immediate evaluation with a clinician. When a clinician is very concerned about safety the assistance of the police or other professionals may be requested.
Meeting with Certified Clinician
Arrangements may be made for a meeting with a clinician. The meeting may be in a Community Mental Health Center office or at a hospital Emergency Department in after hour situations.
Evaluation and Assessment
The purpose of the evaluation is to determine the level and kind of services needed and to arrange them if necessary. The clinician will be looking at a number of different options including outpatient referral, medical care, substance abuse treatment, voluntary psychiatric care in a community program or hospital, or involuntary treatment if the situation is dangerous enough. Private community hospitals and programs are used first when available and possible before admission to New Hampshire Hospital.
Assessments conducted at a local hospital usually include admission to the Emergency Department and evaluation to ensure you are physically stable. Blood work, a basic physical, a neurological exam or other tests as necessary may be ordered. The Emergency Services clinician will ask questions about your life including where you live and who you live with, your personal history, your family, your work or school history, your medical condition, any past psychiatric history, use of substances, and how you are feeling. A determination about your safety will be made. A plan about the need for services and when services are needed will be made with you and your family. If the Emergency Services clinician determines you to be a danger to yourself or others, a hospitalization will be arranged.