Patient Guide: Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to McLean Hospital?
For transportation routes to McLean, click here.
Suggested walking route from Waverly Square, Belmont (bus or rail station):
The hospital is located approximately 1/2 mile up a large hill from the
bus and rail station at Waverly Square. From the station, cross Trapelo Road
at the Shaw's Market traffic light. Walk west towards the gas station,
cross Pleasant Street and enter the McLean grounds at the gatehouse located
at the corner of Pleasant Street and Trapelo Road. Proceed up the footpath.
The hospital buildings are at the top of the hill.
How do I find my way around McLean?
To help find your way around the McLean campus, there are two information booths each containing a large map of hospital buildings and a list of hospital telephone numbers. One booth is located on the right as you enter the campus from Mill Street and the other to the left of the fork at the Bowditch Parking Lot. For your convenience, a map of the McLean grounds is provided by clicking here.
What is the quickest phone access to McLean Admissions?
Easy Access to McLean Hospital Services - 800-333-0338
Press 1 for 24-hour Acute Care, Stabilization and Admission
Press 2 for Information and/or Referral to Outpatient Services
How does the admitting process begin?
As with all medical care, psychiatric care is a collaborative process. You need to know as much as possible from your treatment team about how to stay well. Similarly, your treatment team needs to know your history and your questions and concerns about your health and treatment in order to get you on the road to recovery. Collaboration among the patient, family and treatment team is critical to treatment success. You will meet with a number of people, starting in the Clinical Evaluation Center (CEC), on your way to feeling better.
When patients arrive at McLean, they are admitted through the CEC, where they are met by a mental health specialist (MHS) and a staff nurse. Prior to evaluation, the patient must sign a consent form granting his/her permission for the evaluation. The MHS gathers preliminary information as part of the evaluation process.
Each patient's belongings are placed in a locked space. For safety reasons, each patient will undergo a body and belongings search.
A staff nurse will assess the patient's nursing care needs, psychiatric condition and anticipated medication management needs. The clinical evaluator will then do a provisional diagnostic evaluation, and a team will work to determine the level of care and treatment plan.
Once completed, the treatment plan is reviewed with the patient and his or her family. Patients not admitted to the hospital are sometimes referred to McLean's network of residential, partial and outpatient services. In other cases, we are able to refer patients to community resources and systems appropriate to an individual's provider network and treatment needs.
What should I bring with me to the hospital?
Patients should wear comfortable, casual clothes while at McLean. We suggest you bring a few changes of machine-washable day and night wear, including underwear, socks, shoes, bathrobe and slippers. Patients should mark all pieces of clothing, as well as such items as eyeglasses, contacts and canes.
The McLean Clothing Bank has a limited supply of clean, donated clothing for patients of all sizes. Once a patient selects an item, it is his or hers to keep. Unit staff can assist patients in contacting the clothing bank. Donated items also are welcome. Call Linens and Laundry at extension 2656 (617-855-2656) for further information.
Drugs and Alcohol:
To ensure the safety of our patients and staff, use of drugs and alcohol on McLean property is not allowed.
Patients should leave all medications at home. Medications that are brought to the hospital will be stored in the hospital pharmacy and returned at the time of discharge with the written authorization of the treating physician.
McLean Hospital is not responsible for personal items, including eyeglasses and dentures. Patients are advised to leave valuables, including jewelry, at home and not to carry more than $10 in cash. Cameras are not allowed on the units.
Personal Care Items:
Patients may bring the following items, if appropriate: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, soap container, hair dryer, electric shaver, hairbrush, comb, contact lens care material and deodorant. Please bring any durable medical equipment you will need, such as a cane, wheelchair, visual aids and hearing aids.
Who will be on my treatment team while I am hospitalized?
The staff of McLean Hospital is here to ensure that you receive the best care possible. You can identify staff members by the identification badges they wear, which display their name, photo and department. If anyone without an identification badge approaches you, please request that he or she display his or her badge.
McLean is an academic medical center affiliated with Harvard Medical School, where residents, fellows and students in medical and allied disciplines may participate in your care.
The staff consists of psychiatrists, psychologists, internists, neurologists and other specialists. On staff at the hospital are experts from almost every psychiatric specialty and subspecialty. Assisting your physician and under his/her strict supervision are "house officers"— residents who are obtaining advanced medical training at McLean. Emergency coverage for all patients is provided around the clock by house officers and internists.
A professional registered nurse will always be available and responsible for providing your nursing care. Mental health specialists and student nurses may assist the registered nurses in providing your care. Registered nurses are responsible for administration of medications, treatments and patient/family education.
Clinical Case Managers:
Case managers are independently licensed social workers, psychologists or advanced practice clinical nurse specialists and are available to you throughout your hospital stay. They provide extensive services to you and your family, including coordination of treatment and discharge planning. They also help you make full use of hospital and community programs during hospitalization and after discharge. Case managers may also provide professional counseling to you and your family. They are available to discuss any problems related to your illness, hospitalization or aftercare planning.
Mental Health Specialists:
Mental health specialists participate in activities to ensure that a patient's nursing care needs are being met. As a member of the clinical treatment team, the mental health specialist assists patients with the activities of daily living and leads various groups.
Will my hospital stay be covered by insurance?
Questions regarding insurance benefits and billing should be directed to the Patient Accounts Office at extension 3301 (617-855-3301).
Please see our policies for Financial Responsibility.
Applications for financial assistance are available from the Patient Accounts Office. Each request is considered individually and should be submitted in advance of or during treatment. The hospital maintains a standard rate reduction schedule for the purpose of calculating reduced fees for a patient. In addition to the application for rate reduction, a copy of the latest Federal Income Tax Return is required. Call the Patient Accounts office for more information.
Are telephones available for patient use?
Pay telephones for outgoing phone service are located at various locations on the hospital campus and on patient units. Patient phone numbers for incoming service on each unit may be obtained from the unit's nursing station upon admission. All telephones are hearing aid compatible.
Are buildings at McLean handicap accessible?
Buildings with wheelchair accessibility are noted on the McLean campus map.
What other services are available to patients while at McLean?
A full-service cafeteria, offering a variety of hot and cold menu items for purchase, is located in the Francis de Marneffe Building. In addition to the cafeteria, there are vending machines located throughout the campus, offering sandwiches, snacks, candy, coffee, juice and soft drinks.
Hairdressing services are available by appointment. Call extension 2492 (617-855-2492).
Interpreter Services/Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD):
Interpreter services are available for non-English speaking patients and their families. Telecommunications Devices for Deaf and hearing-impaired patients also are available. Staff members will assist you in obtaining these services.
As a patient at McLean, you can send and receive mail. Any letters and packages sent by U.S. mail are delivered to and picked up from patient units on a daily basis.
McLean's Mental Health Sciences Library:
Located on the second floor of the Francis de Marneffe Building, the library offers a broad selection of books, journals, audio and videotapes. Patients are welcome to browse through these materials.
Mental Health Resources:
The Jonathan O. Cole, MD, Mental Health Consumer Resource Center, a joint project of McLean Hospital and the Manic Depressive and Depressive Association of Boston, stocks an extensive selection of free resource materials on psychiatric disorders. Some additional materials are available at modest fees. Information on community mental health resources also can be found at the center, which is located in the Francis de Marneffe building.
Patients may park their personal vehicles on hospital grounds, but must register them through Security at extension 2121 (617-855-2121). Parking is free and available in any of the parking lots or designated visitor spaces located throughout the campus. Patients and their families are asked to observe parking restrictions, which are clearly marked. Illegally parked vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.
Public restrooms are located in every hospital building.
In case of emergency, patients should call McLean's Security Department at extension 2121 (617-855-2121).
Public telephones are located at various locations throughout the hospital campus, including on all patient units. Upon admission, patient phone numbers for each unit may be obtained from the unit's nursing station.
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What are patient rights at McLean?
Information regarding patients' civil rights is provided to all patients. Patients and family members are encouraged to contact the Civil Rights Office at extension 3406 (617-855-3406) with any questions or concerns. All calls are returned as soon as possible by the hospital's Human Rights Officer and are handled in a confidential manner.
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Who is allowed to inspect or be provided with copies of a patient's record at McLean Hospital?
Consistent with current law, McLean Hospital policy allows patients, their families, legal guardians or healthcare agents to request permission to either inspect a hospital record or obtain a copy of the discharge summary or other portion(s) of a record. A request must be accompanied by the consent of the patient or other legally authorized person. Although most requests are granted, if a determination is made that inspection will result in serious harm to the patient, such access will be denied.
When permission is granted to read the record, an appointment must be made with the Medical Records Department to review the record in the Medical Records Department. When permission is granted to receive a copy of the discharge summary or other parts of the record, the Medical Records Department will advise on the cost of copying such records and will forward the documents upon receipt of payment.
When clinical permission is not granted to access a patient's record, what other legal avenues are available for securing access to such records?
The current law states that patient records are to be private and not open to public inspection except:
(1) upon a judicial order, whether or not there are pending judicial proceedings; or
(2) upon the written request of the patient's attorney accompanied by an authorization from the patient. These two avenues also may allow for either the inspection or provision of a copy of a record in the event that permission is not otherwise granted.
Is the confidentiality of psychiatric patients and their records specifically protected?
Yes. The confidentiality of communications by psychiatric patients and their records is protected by Massachusetts law and regulations. No person will be identified as a patient at McLean Hospital and no clinical information will be disclosed unless: (1) the patient, parent, legal guardian or healthcare agent consents in writing; (2) the disclosure is permitted by court order, state law or regulation; (3) the disclosure is made to medical personnel in a medical emergency or to qualified personnel for research, supervision, audit or program evaluations, including peer review or utilization review; (4) the disclosure is necessary to enable the patient or someone acting on his or her behalf to pursue a claim, suit or other legal remedy, to enforce a right or to defend himself against such action; (5) the disclosure is necessary to ensure that the civil rights of the patient are protected; (6) the disclosure is necessary to ensure that the patient, or someone acting on his or her behalf, can obtain benefits or third party payment for services rendered to such patient.
Is the confidentiality of patients with alcohol and drug abuse problems and their records specifically protected?
Yes. The confidentiality of communications by psychiatric patients and their records is protected by Massachusetts's law and regulations. No person will be identified as a patient at McLean Hospital and no clinical information will be disclosed unless:
(1) the patient, parent, legal guardian or healthcare agent consents in writing;
(2) the disclosure is permitted by court order, state law or regulation;
(3) the disclosure is made to medical personnel in a medical emergency or to qualified personnel for research, supervision, audit or program evaluations.
Is patient information given to the media?
Issues of patient confidentiality demand that McLean staff protect patient privacy. Under no circumstances will patients or patient-related issues be discussed with a member of the media without the patient's written consent. All media calls concerning patients should be immediately referred to Public Affairs at extension 2110 (617-855-2110).
Can a patient be required to participate in research?
No. Patients cannot be required to participate in research and may decline to do so without consequence to the continuation of their treatment. Competent patients may consent to participate in research. Consent may also be given by properly empowered guardians and healthcare agents on behalf of incompetent patient. Information about participation in research can be obtained from the Human Rights Officer at McLean Hospital.
Does McLean offer support groups?
Listing of Support Groups Available to Patients.
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Other Helpful Information
Friends of McLean (617-855-2118)
A large voluntary organization of individuals involved in educating the community about mental illness in an effort to counteract stigma. The Friends and the McLean Social Work Department sponsor the annual Priscilla Aikenhead lecture each fall. The Friends also sponsor educational lectures in the Belmont community featuring McLean staff.Continuing Education Department (617-855-3152)The Department of Continuing Education sponsors Grand Rounds on Thursdays throughout the year from noon to 1:00 pm in the de Marneffe 132 conference room on the McLean campus. The free presentations are made by well-known experts on academic, clinical or research topics in psychiatry and are open to the public. Registration is required.Legal Services (617-855-2197)As part of its educational mission, the department offers the following information free of charge for its patients and families:
"A Guide to the Rights of McLean Hospital Patients"
"Information on Advanced Directives: Health Care Proxies and Durable Powers of Attorney"
"Information on Civil Commitment"
"Information on Guardianship"
Mental Health Sciences Library (617-855-2460)
McLean's Mental Health Sciences Library offers an extensive selection of books, journals, audio and videotapes on mental illness and its treatments. McLean staff often uses these materials for educational discussions with patients and families.
Pharmacy Department (617-855-2451)
The Pharmacy is committed to educating patients and their families about medication uses, side effects, interactions with foods or medications and other contra-indications. The Pharmacy ensures that information sheets on medications are available to staff through the hospital's computer system. Patients may access this information through the program or unit staff.
The Pharmacy also publishes two useful manuals that are available from your healthcare providers:
"About Your Medications: A Guide for Patients"
"About Your Food and Drug Interactions: A Guide for Patients"
Public Affairs Department (617-855-2110)
The Public Affairs Department contributes to the education of patients and families by publishing and
disseminating information about McLean programs and services, psychiatric illness and treatment, educational opportunities and hospital resources.
Patients and individuals in the community may choose to participate in clinical research programs at McLean, including the development and testing of new treatment approaches.Major Clinical Programs at McLean Hospital
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