Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Inpatient Program

Compassionate, short-term care focused on stabilization

Acute Care When You Need it Most

The Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Inpatient Program is a short-term, expertly staffed unit available for individuals in crisis or experiencing a severe exacerbation of their illness where safety or self-care are at risk.

The program offers patient-centered care, involving families and outpatient providers to help patients attain their treatment goals and minimize the burden of symptoms.

Find the care that’s right for you or your loved one. Call us today at 617.855.3141.

Program Leadership

Stephanie C. Valcourt, MD

Stephanie C. Valcourt, MD, Medical Director

Dr. Valcourt is an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. With a medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine, she completed her psychiatry residency at the MGH/McLean Adult Psychiatry Residency Training Program. Dr. Valcourt actively participates in the training of psychiatry residents and medical students. Her clinical and research interests have focused on minimizing potential side effects of antipsychotic medications.

Photo of Jeanne McElhinney, MS, RN, BC

Jeanne McElhinney, MS, RN, BC, Nurse Director

Ms. McElhinney began her career at McLean Hospital in 1986, and her passion for nursing continues to this day. Her leadership and professionalism has garnered her numerous awards and recognition. She is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to patients and a supportive work environment for the staff.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the program located?

The Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Inpatient Program is located on the Belmont campus, on the second floor of the Admissions Building. For more information on directions, parking, and local accommodations, please visit our Maps & Directions page.

What is the length of stay at the program? What happens at discharge?

On average, patients stay at the program between 10 and 14 days.

Efforts are made to limit time at this level of care and to transition patients to their next level of care to continue treatment as discussed with the team as soon as is appropriate.

Patients meet with their treatment team daily, Monday through Friday. This meeting is referred to as ‘’rounds’’ and typically occurs between the hours of 8:30 and 10:30am.

Aftercare planning begins immediately upon admission.

Are visitors permitted?

Visitors are permitted, following program policies. Visiting hours are 2-8pm, seven days a week.

Please speak to the patient’s treatment team for more information. Additional details can be found on the Visitors page.

Is there access to a phone? Are cellphones and other electronics allowed?

For the north unit, the nurses station phone number is 617.855.2554 and the patient phone numbers are 617.855.2263 and 617.855.2342. For the south unit the nurses station phone number is 617.855.2516 and the patient phone numbers are 617.855.2380 and 617.855.2381.

To promote sleep, phone use is discouraged overnight. If needed, staff assist with phone calls during late hours.

The phones are available from 8am to 11pm. The staff reserves the right to modify phone use to provide for patient safety and allow equal opportunity for others to access the phones.

Upon arrival on the unit, patients do not have immediate access to their cell phone or electronic devices. Access to cell phone and electronic devices are discussed with the treatment team throughout the patient’s stay.

Personal laptops are not allowed on the unit. Headphones and earbuds are collected nightly by 10pm.

For unit safety, corded items are not allowed in patient rooms. Hair dryers are allowed, but these appliances need to be inspected and approved by McLean’s electrical department before being used on the unit. Staff arrange for this inspection. Hair dryers and other corded items are stored in the nurses station.

What precautions are taken regarding restricted items and sharps?

To ensure patient safety, the following items are not allowed on the unit: alcoholic beverages, drugs/medications, plastic bags, weapons, knives or other sharp objects, matches/lighters, glass bottles, mirrors, and glass picture frames.

Is family involved in treatment?

Contact between family members and clinical social workers as well as family meetings are encouraged when clinically appropriate and with permission of the patient. Family meetings generally take place on weekday afternoons.

What are the general policies of the program?

Important Information

Patient identification wristbands must be worn at all times to ensure correct identification and administration of all medications.


To ensure patient safety, the psychiatrist prescribes five- or 15-minute checks. This means that every five or 15 minutes, a staff member must see that each patient is safe and doing well on the unit. Checks are conducted 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Unit Levels and Sign-Out Board

There are two safety levels described below. The safety level is determined as a collective decision made by the patient and their treatment team.

  • Level 1: We ask the patient to remain on the unit
  • Level 2: Patient may attend off-unit group activities with staff on the campus

Sign-Out Policy

Patients are expected to sign out on the sign-out board before they leave the unit. Patients are asked to include the time they are leaving and their destination. When they return, they erase their departure time and destination as confirmation that they are back on the unit.


As smoking has been identified as a major public health risk as well as a fire hazard on the unit, the program is a smoke-free environment. Nicotine replacement gum and patches are available.


We suggest that patients keep a maximum of $50 on their person. Large sums of money can be sent home if possible. When this is not possible, money can be sent to the hospital’s safe.

Room Assignments

Patients are asked to maintain their room in an orderly fashion. Fresh linens are available on the unit.

Patients may be required to move into a different room for clinical reasons.

Dress Code

We request that shoes or slippers be worn at all times. Personal clothing may be worn. Staff encourage patients to dress appropriately while on the unit.


Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served on the unit. A snack is available in the evening. All opened food containers should be labeled with the patient’s name and date and kept in the kitchen. Please do not bring open food or beverage containers into patient rooms.


Patients are responsible for washing their clothing. A laundry room and laundry detergent are available on the unit for use. For purposes of infection control, patients should not combine laundry loads with those of other patients.


The hospital has a mail room. For patients who would like to mail a letter, they may leave it at the nurses station. All incoming packages are examined and opened in staff presence.

Infection Control

For sanitary reasons, patients are asked not to share toothbrushes, razors, hairbrushes, or items of underwear with other patients. All personal grooming implements are kept in patient rooms, rather than the bathroom.

There are a few simple rules that help prevent the spread of infection while a patient here at McLean Hospital. These rules are in place to protect patients as well as those they come in contact with on the unit.

Simple precautions are needed to avoid exposures to blood and other body fluids, which may contain germs—these other body fluids are things like saliva, feces, and vomit.

  • Wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet, touching wounds, blowing your nose, or before eating or handling food
  • Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing; use a tissue and be sure to dispose of used tissues in a trash receptacle
  • Use only your own fork, knife, spoon, straw, cup, plate, etc., and avoid sharing food or drink with someone else; any food or drink handled or partly eaten should be thrown away in a trash receptacle
  • Personal items like makeup, earrings, razors, nail clippers, and clothing should not be shared
  • Personal hygiene items, such as toothbrushes, soap, brushes/combs, and mouthwash, are kept in patient rooms; they should not be left in the bathroom where others might use them, and do not share them
  • If clothes become soiled with blood or other body fluids, wash them in the washer/dryer on the unit; be sure to use a hot water cycle; ask nursing staff for help if needed
  • Dirty or soiled areas on the unit should be reported to the staff

These rules are intended to protect patients and staff. Feel free to discuss questions or concerns with the staff.

Personal Boundaries

Patients are expected to be respectful of others’ personal boundaries. No physical contact is permitted between patients. Visitors are encouraged to visit in open areas. If visiting in the patient room, visitors are not allowed to lie on the bed.

Is group therapy a component of patient care?

There is a vast selection of groups that are offered throughout the day. Staff work collaboratively with each patient to select those groups most appropriate for them. Participation in group programming is an important part of recovery and treatment on the unit.

Where can more information be found?

Unit staff are available to answer additional questions. More information may also be found in McLean’s patient guides, including Guide to Arriving at McLean Hospital. Paper copies are available upon request.

Patients may also find this video about our admission process a helpful way to understand how it works. Watch now.

Find Care That’s Right for You

Call us today at 617.855.3141 to learn more about treatment options.