Acute Psychiatry Service

Director: Gerald Nestadt, M.D.

The Acute Psychiatry Service is located on the Meyer 3 inpatient unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital East Baltimore campus. Its mission is to provide an innovative service for the treatment of mentally ill patients during acute episodes. Its multi-disciplinary team is composed of an attending psychiatrist, senior clinical nurses, a designated social worker, occupational therapists, and psychiatric residents.

Patients on this service are admitted primarily from the emergency department and referrals from medical units. The goal is to diagnose and stabilize patients quickly and establish appropriate discharge plans. Discharge placements include our Community Psychiatry Program, other outpatient providers, substance abuse programs, and intensive outpatient treatment. The service generally treats patients between the ages of 18 and 64 years.

The focus of the service is multi-disciplinary treatment using community psychiatry principles, addressing psychosocial needs of the patients, working with families and other support systems in the community. The service treats patients who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, bipolar illness, substance use disorder and other comorbid conditions. Nursing and occupational therapists offer therapeutic and psychoeducational groups, individual sessions, and extensive illness and treatment education.

Patients who are admitted receive a comprehensive evaluation in the first 24 hours, are given a physical exam and placed on medications for acute symptom relief. They are diagnosed by the team and engaged in a treatment plan appropriate to their needs. The focus is on rapid psychological and behavioral stabilization and safe and supportive community re-entry.

Generally, evaluations also include assessments of functional capacity, need for support in the community, care for medical problems and other needs. Outpatient caregivers are contacted for input and follow-up. Assistance in complying with care requirements is usually provided. Acute medical problems are investigated and treated.

The longitudinal care of the patient is addressed by the multidisciplinary team, outpatient treatment providers, and care providers. The mission of the service is to integrate clinical care, teaching, and research to best treat psychiatrically ill patients.

About the Director: Dr. Gerald Nestadt has had forty years of experience treating patients with psychiatric disorders in the inpatient setting, the day hospital, and as outpatients. He is active in psychiatric research and education of students and residents.

The nursing staff are expert in the management of the acutely ill patient. They focus on the whole patient, addressing aspects of disorder, temperament, behavior, and the patient’s life circumstances. The social worker is expert in the psychosocial assessment of the patient, working with families and outside agencies. Family therapy is an important ingredient in patient care. The occupational therapist completes a thorough functional assessment of the patient. Based on the assessment, therapy focuses on improving deficits, augmenting strengths, and identifying approaches to reduce functional impairment.

Please call (410) 955-5104 or visit the Adult Psychiatry Admissions for additional information about arranging an admission.