Geriatric Psychiatry Inpatient Services

Acute mental health care for older adults

McLean Is Here to Help

McLean’s Geriatric Psychiatry Inpatient Services provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for individuals ages 50 and older who are experiencing emotional, cognitive, or behavioral symptoms.

Symptoms may include memory loss, mood disturbances, anxiety, difficulty coping with losses and transitions, or behavioral conditions that interfere with care at home or in a long-term care setting.

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

Covered by most health insurance providers, our average length of stay is between 7 and 14 days. We will work with you to determine which option is best for you.

The main components of care include diagnostic evaluation, solution focused treatment, group therapy, behavioral strategies, medication evaluation and management, and aftercare planning.

Treatment for cognitive impairments focuses on rapidly stabilizing patients. Care integrates behavioral interventions, medication consultation, and group therapy. This approach is personalized to each patient to maximize cognitive and emotional functioning and enhance quality of life.

“You have left me with a renewed faith in a mental health system that employs individuals that truly care.”
– Patient at the Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Program

For other psychiatric diagnoses, treatment is tailored to meet the needs of each patient with the goal of providing diagnostic clarification, symptom relief, patient and family education, development of an aftercare plan, and strategies to improve day-to-day life.

A part of McLean’s Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, our interdisciplinary teams of expert clinicians and support staff have chosen geriatrics as their specialty. Staff pride themselves on providing compassionate and efficient care. We work together to collaborate with patients and families to provide first-class treatment in a comfortable environment.

About Our Programs

The Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Program offers specialty care for dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments.

This program is best suited to individuals with cognitive impairment and co-occurring diagnoses such as depression and anxiety.

We understand that along with cognitive changes, many individuals experience additional symptoms or behavioral disturbances such as agitation. Staff have special expertise in treating Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

The Older Adult Program serves the general psychiatric needs of geriatric patients.

This program provides treatment for patients with a wide variety of psychiatric illnesses including depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and thought disorders. We also treat individuals coping with loss, bereavement, and changes in functioning. Families are closely involved and participate during the hospitalization.

Care and Compassion Throughout the Life Span

Let us show you why McLean is considered a life changer for individuals who are struggling with mental health difficulties as they age.

Treatment Team

Program Leadership

James Wilkins, MD, DPhil

James M. Wilkins, MD, DPhil, Medical Director, Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Program

Dr. Wilkins’ clinical interests include care of people with dementia and their families. His academic interests lie at the interface of geriatric psychiatry and bioethics with a focus on the ethical aspects of decision-making, particularly surrogate decision-making for people with dementia. He is also site director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at Mass General Brigham.

Arkadiy Stolyar, MD

Arkadiy Stolyar, MD, Medical Director, Older Adult Program

After graduating from medical school, Dr. Stolyar spent the next twenty years as an emergency medicine physician and became interested in psychiatry after moving to the United States. Upon completion of his training, he began working at McLean Hospital as a geriatric psychiatrist in the geriatric psychiatry programs. Dr. Stolyar also pursues his interest in forensic psychiatry and clinical research. He has participated in more than 90 clinical trials.

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Nancy E. Lyga, RN, MSN, MBA, Nurse Director, Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Program

Throughout her career, Ms. Lyga has worked in diverse roles in nursing. Previously, she worked at Northeastern University College of Nursing as an assistant professor and assistant dean. She was also a psychiatric clinical instructor for Curry College School of Nursing and the MGH Institute of Health Professions. Ms. Lyga has enjoyed working in administrative and supervisory roles in geriatric and adolescent psychiatric inpatient settings.

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Christopher Dell’Erba, MSN, RN, A-IPC, Nurse Director, Older Adult Program

Mr. Dell’Erba’s professional experience in psychiatry has been in caring for individuals across the life span, with a primary focus on the unique needs of the older adult population. He brings his diverse experience from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, working in various inpatient roles as well as with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Healthcare Safety and Quality as a statewide health care associated infections (HAI) nurse advisor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the program located?

The Geriatric Psychiatry Inpatient Services are located on the Belmont campus in South Belknap.

The Older Adult Program is located on the first floor and the Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Program is located on the second floor.

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?

Patient stays at the program range from seven to 14 days, on average. Inpatient stays are brief and focus on acute stabilization and management of crises and psychiatric illness.

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?

The Older Adult Program nurses station can be reached at 617.855.2312 and the Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Program nurses station at 617.855.2551.

The patient phone number is 617.855.2641. All outgoing calls from McLean must be placed to unblocked lines. Family members should give the treatment team an unblocked contact number.

Cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices are permitted, with some guidelines to prevent disruption of the program and other patients, but charging cords are not allowed. Device chargers are kept in the nurses station for charging as needed. Wireless headphones with Bluetooth capability are allowed, but no wired headphones of any kind are permitted.

To respect the privacy of all patients, photographic equipment or recording devices of any kind are not allowed.

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, knives/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 mornings and 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 assure patient safety, units have a check system. Checks consist of a staff person walking through the unit to see each patient. This occurs every five minutes or 15 minutes, depending on physician’s orders.

Patients can expect the staff to come into their room to see them frequently, even during the night. If patients are in the bathroom, they are asked to say their name when the staff person knocks.

Unit Permissions

There are three levels of privileges, and each patient’s level is determined after assessment by the treatment team:

  • Level 1: Hall restrict
  • Level 2: May leave the unit with a staff member
  • Level 3: May leave the unit with a family member

Passes may be written for occasions not covered under the privilege system, such as going out with a friend or to an appointment off hospital grounds.


As smoking has been identified as a major public health risk as well as a fire hazard on the unit, the programs are smoke-free environments. Cigarettes, lighters, matches, and e-cigarettes are not permitted.

Nicorette gum and nicotine patches are an option as well as tobacco cessation counseling and support.


Patients may bring in personal items or food from home to make the stay more comfortable. Items that are sharp (e.g., razors), made of glass (including mirrors), or have cords (including a computer mouse, headphones, chargers) are stored at the nurses station. Staff may monitor shaving and the use of sharp objects.

Patients are welcome to keep up to three different sets of clothing on the unit, pictures in non-breakable frames, and other items that patients find comforting or soothing.

Please do not bring items with high monetary or emotional value to the unit. For Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Program patients, items, such as rings, watches, wallets, and the like, are sent to Security until patients are discharged. There is no such accommodation at the Older Adult Program.

Older Adult Program patients are allowed to keep clothing, glasses, hearing aids, dentures, and other miscellaneous items in their room.

At the Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Program, this is not allowed because many of our confused patients wander about the unit, rummaging or collecting items from other patients’ rooms at random. Items left in patient rooms are often lost or at least temporarily misplaced.

Patient Rooms

Rooms are assigned based on clinical need. Patients may be asked at some point during their stay to change rooms based on the needs of the unit.

To promote healthy sleeping patterns, patients are encouraged to be in their rooms between the hours of 11pm and 7am.


Meals are served in the dining room. Breakfast is at 9am. Lunch is at 12pm. Dinner is at 5pm. Patients are assisted by dietary staff and mental health specialists during meals.

Patients who find the dining room area too noisy or overly stimulating are often seated elsewhere on the unit, in either the conference room or the day room.


We encourage family members to bring favorite foods to the unit when they visit. Leftovers or food brought to hand out over a course of days are labeled and stored in our dining room area. Please do not leave food in patient rooms for a long time.


Medications are usually administered at 9am, 1pm, 5pm, and 9pm.

Prescription or over-the-counter medications from home is sent to the pharmacy to be stored until discharge.


Patients should bring three comfortable, washable, preshrunk sets of clothing, as all clothing is washed in hot water.

A washing machine, laundry detergent, and a dryer are on the unit for patient use, free of charge.

Who is on the treatment team?

During the admissions process, each patient is assigned a treatment team that oversees their care during the hospital stay. The treatment team is made up of a group of nurses and a psychiatrist, case manager, internist, nutritionist, and mental health specialist.

Additional members of the team may include clinicians from neurology, neuropsychology, physical therapy, ECT, physiatry, activity therapy, and/or occupational therapy.

All patients are seen seven days a week by a group of nurses, group therapists, mental health specialists, and a psychiatrist. Patients are seen by case management each day during the weekdays.

McLean is a teaching facility affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. We often have students, interns, and fellows who may work with patients and their families. The trainees work closely with a supervisor to ensure excellent care.

Is group therapy a component of patient care?

Group therapy is a large component of treatment. Patients are invited to participate in any groups offered on the unit, including art therapy, exercise, cognitive games, sensory activities, discussion groups, and pet therapy.

There is a mix of therapy, education, and leisure groups offered each day, led by skilled clinicians of varying backgrounds.

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.

We Are Here to Help

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