Specialty Residential Programs Serve as a National Resource for Patients and Clinicians

January 26, 2015

Each year, McLean Hospital serves more than 950 patients in its specialty psychiatric and substance abuse residential treatment programs. Of those patients, 70% travel from outside of Massachusetts to come to McLean, with many coming from outside of the United States.

“Each one of our residential programs draws a significant number of patients from outside of the state,” says Mark Robart, MSW, LICSW, director of McLean’s residential programs. “In fact, we have seen patients from nearly all 50 states, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Although we are located in a suburb of Boston, McLean has become a global resource for psychiatric care.”

Drawing more than 80% of its referrals from outside of Massachusetts is The Pavilion, a two- week evaluation and diagnostic program located on McLean’s main campus in Belmont, Massachusetts. For Daphne Murphy*, a social worker from Georgia, the decision to leave her home and her family to be treated at the Pavilion was not easy.

“The symptoms I was experiencing—rapid cycling and euphoria, followed by bone crushing depression—were out of control. My therapist at home worked hard to determine the best treatment for me, and he ultimately recommended the Pavilion,” explains Murphy. “I was scared to leave work and my familiar support network but I had to trust that the Pavilion would help me clarify my diagnosis and obtain the effective treatment that would allow me to resume my life.”

According to Murphy, one of the most appealing aspects of the Pavilion was the comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to care, which included the ability to quickly synthesize findings and make changes in treatment.


“We draw on expertise from multiple disciplines—psychiatry, psychology, social work, neurology, medicine and nutrition. Many sets of eyes thoroughly examine each patient and review the findings daily. This is our strength,” says Robart. Murphy also underwent a series of tests, including a full neuropsychological and psychological battery, a sleep study, an MRI, and specialty consultations.

This type of extensive, expert work-up has led to relief and improvement for hundreds of patients who, prior to coming to the Pavilion, struggled for years with symptoms because their illnesses were not accurately diagnosed.

“We don’t just focus on patients’ narrowly defined psychiatric conditions; we look at contributing medical and neurological problems, as well as lifestyle, family and relationship issues,” says Robart. “We consider a wide range of domains in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of who each patient is and the kind of treatment needed to reach optimal functioning.”

Murphy says that she felt empowered because she was involved in the decision-making process and she felt comfortable because her therapist in Georgia continued to be involved in her care.

“The staff in Belmont collaborated with my therapist in Georgia throughout the two weeks I was at McLean in order to ensure that when I went home, the transition from the Pavilion to my regular therapist would be seamless,” explains Murphy. “I am deeply grateful for the care I received at the Pavilion and am looking forward to continuing my journey to recovery now that I am back home.”

In addition to the Pavilion, McLean has a number of other specialty residential programs including 3East, a dialectical behavior program for adolescents and young adults; Gunderson, a treatment program for women with personality disorders; Appleton, a program for adults with severe chronic mental illness; Fernside, which offers substance use disorder treatment for adult men and women and the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute (OCDI).

“I have referred many challenging and complex cases to McLean Hospital because of the extremely high quality of care,” says Matthew State, MD, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. “McLean focuses on collaboration, not only with the patient, but also with their families and other treatment providers. The highest compliment that I can give is that I would refer a family member to McLean, without hesitation.”

In addition to McLean’s specialized residential treatment programs, the hospital, which has campuses throughout Massachusetts and now in Camden, Maine, has robust inpatient, partial hospital and outpatient services. It sees 6,000 inpatient admissions annually.

*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.

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