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Treatment at McLean

Guide to Arriving at McLean Hospital

What happens when I arrive at McLean’s Clinical Evaluation Center (Admissions) on the Belmont campus?

When you arrive at McLean’s Belmont campus, you will meet with clinicians in the Clinical Evaluation Center (CEC). A mental health specialist (MHS) will talk with you and gather preliminary information as the first step in a thorough diagnostic psychiatric evaluation.

Initially, for your safety and the safety of others, the MHS will check to see if you have items that could pose a hazard. Your personal belongings will be stored safely in a locked space. You will be given an identification wristband, which you should wear at all times.

The MHS will provide an orientation to the CEC and check your vital signs. A nurse will assess and attend to your nursing care needs, including medications, and ask about any unstable medical conditions or safety concerns. A clinical evaluator then will conduct an initial evaluation, helping the clinical staff determine which hospital inpatient program meets your needs. The evaluation also helps the clinical staff develop your initial treatment plan. Based on this admission assessment, medication may be started or continued, and tests may be ordered. Your participation is very important during this process. Please ask questions and share your concerns.

McLean staffUp to two family members or friends, except for children under 18 years old, may stay with you (if you permit them) while you are in the CEC. Family and friends will be asked to step out of the room for all or part of the evaluation so you can give private information to the treatment team. Formal family meetings are not routinely part of the initial evaluation. These will occur later at an inpatient program with staff who will follow you throughout your stay and become more familiar with you and your family.

Family members or friends with information that is important for clinicians to know during the initial assessment should ask to speak with staff if they do not have an opportunity to provide this information during the evaluation.

What happens when I arrive at McLean SouthEast?

At McLean SouthEast, the admission process is similar but takes place at the inpatient program. A mental health specialist, social worker, nurse, and psychiatrist will participate in the process. With your permission, family and friends may be asked to take part if they are present.

How long does the admissions process take?

Typically, this process takes three to four hours. Part of this time is needed to write the initial admission note, record information about your treatment plan, and talk to your insurance company. At the end of this process, you will be admitted to an inpatient program or directed to the most appropriate setting for your care.

Is financial assistance available?

McLean Hospital recognizes that some patients have limited means and may not have access to insurance coverage for all services. We therefore have a financial assistance program for uninsured patients and underinsured patients with limited financial resources. Visit the Partners HealthCare website to learn more.

Why do different McLean staff ask me the same questions?

You will most likely be asked to tell us about yourself a few times, one time with each professional who meets with you. Different staff will listen to your answers for different purposes. We want to be as thorough as possible as we work with you to develop your treatment plan.

What releases will I be asked to sign?

You will be asked to sign release of information forms for your insurance carrier, primary care physician, psychiatrist, and therapist. These releases are required so we may communicate with your insurance carrier and with your health care providers outside McLean.

Later in the process of your treatment, you will be asked to sign additional release of information forms in order for staff to speak with your family or friends.

What happens if I am admitted?

If you have been admitted, a staff member will accompany you to the inpatient program in which you will be staying. If family or friends are present, they may go with you to the program. In some circumstances, they may be asked to wait until you are settled in your room. You will be assigned a clinical treatment team who will take care of you during your stay.

What happens if I am not admitted?

If you are not admitted to a McLean inpatient program, you may be referred to one of McLean’s residential or partial hospital (day) programs or to our outpatient services. Alternatively, because of your treatment needs and/or your health insurance provider network, we may refer you to a community mental health provider.

What personal items and belongings will I need during my hospital stay?


Plan to wear casual clothes while at McLean and bring two changes of machine-washable clothes for day and night wear, including undergarments, socks, bathrobe, and slippers. Washing machines and dryers are available at every inpatient program. We also suggest that you have a pair of comfortable shoes and a jacket or coat. Please mark your name on all pieces of clothing.

McLean has a limited supply of clean donated clothing available in many sizes for patients. Program staff can assist you in contacting the clothing bank at 617.855.2118. If you receive an item, it is yours to keep.


Treatment at McLeanTo enable the clinical team to review your medications accurately during the admissions process, we recommend that you bring all of your prescription medications, in their original containers, to the hospital.

Once you are admitted, all needed medications will be dispensed by the McLean Pharmacy in accordance with state and federal regulations and hospital policies.

Personal Care Items

You may want to bring items such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, a hairbrush, eyeglasses, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products. Basic hygiene kits can be provided at no cost to you if you do not have these items.

You should also plan to bring any durable medical equipment you may need such as a cane, wheelchair, CPAP machine, and hearing or visual aids. Items with cords may need to be kept at the nursing station. Please mark your name on all personal care items.


To help promote focused engagement during group therapy and other aspects of treatment, some inpatient programs do not allow cellphone use while others discourage or restrict usage. A few inpatient programs permit only cellphones without cameras. Please check with the staff about cellphone policies at your program.


Computers and any electronic equipment that can be used to photograph or record sound or images are not permitted at McLean inpatient programs. Patients on the Belmont campus may check with staff about using computers available for patient use at the Cole Consumer Resource Center.

Restricted Items

Items that are not allowed at the program for safety and privacy reasons:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Razors
  • Guns/weapons
  • Knives/other sharp objects
  • Cameras
  • Glass bottles
  • Matches/lighters
  • Plastic bags
  • Drugs/medications
  • Mirrors
  • Video/tape recorders
  • Glass picture frames

Please check with program staff regarding policies on belts, dental floss, electric razors, hair dryers, nail clippers, MP3 players with headphones, cigarettes, and canned beverages.

Personal Valuables

McLean Hospital is not responsible for loss or damage to personal items, including eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dentures. We recommend that you keep jewelry and other valuables at home and not carry more than $10 in cash. Please consider sending valuables home with family. For privacy reasons, cameras, including those in cellphones, and other electronic recording devices are not allowed at inpatient programs.

What do I need to know once I arrive at an inpatient program?

A mental health specialist or nurse will help you get settled at the program and in your room. All inpatient staff are available to answer questions and address concerns that you may have.

In addition, publications called Guide to Inpatient Care at McLean Hospital and Guide to Transitioning from Inpatient Care are available at every inpatient program and at These guides provide answers to many questions and present a lot of information that you and your family may find helpful.

Once settled, your family and friends may visit with you. In general, family and friends are allowed to visit during scheduled visiting hours and only if you wish to see them. Talk to a staff member about concerns you may have about visitors.

During your stay, a team of clinicians, including doctors, nurses, and a case manager, will oversee your care and treatment and help you on your way to recovery.