The ability to meet the demands of life is one of the main characteristics of mental health. Since the major life demand for children and adolescents is school, Dominion Hospital provides comprehensive education services to support inpatient, partial (outpatient, day) mental health care for school-age patients.
Extensive Educational Support for Every School-Age Youth
Dominion Hospital understands the unique mental health needs of children and adolescents—and we're the only mental health care facility in the Northern Virginia and metropolitan Washington, D.C., region to offer programs and services tailored specifically to them. While we focus first on delivering effective mental health care, we support those efforts with multiple education services, such as direct instruction in an onsite classroom and coordination with local schools, designed to help students make smooth transitions and maintain their school standing whenever possible.
As full members of Dominion Hospital's multispecialty treatment teams, we collaborate in developing treatment plans and work with physicians, social workers, psychiatric nurses, psychiatric technicians, expressive therapists, dietitians and other clinical staff to identify and deliver the most appropriate care in the least restrictive environment possible.
Our education services team takes on the critical task of coordinating communication and services for parents of students in Dominion Hospital programs and their local school systems. We consult directly with appropriate school personnel—including counselors, psychologists, social workers, administrators, special education case managers, principals or assistant principals—to address school stressors related to admission and explore available school assistance where applicable. From our first conversations with students, parents, the school, and our treatment team, we prepare an Initial Educational Assessment (IEA) to evaluate whether the student's current educational placement is appropriate. The assessment contributes to both treatment planning while students are in the hospital and discharge planning to help improve transitions and outcomes.
Through our discharge planning process, we help make the return to school as smooth as possible. We facilitate conversations with school staff to help smooth students' re-entry—processing absences and talking about homework or other school-related issues. And we're the single point of contact for parents, schools, support services and other community organizations. Our Final Grade Report—will document student needs, and include information about the transition from our program to school, any make-up work, services needed—such as a referral to special education—or referral for other services at Dominion Hospital or in the community. At discharge, Education Services completes a Final Grade Report (FGR) that includes students' program participation grades and recommendations for transition assistance that supports successful re-entry into school.
In addition to our standard program of therapeutic care delivered to all children and adolescents who take part in our inpatient or partial programs, students receive the appropriate level of direct instruction each weekday in our state-of-the-art onsite classroom, equipped with a SMART Board and PCs for student use. Students devote time each day accessing their schools e-learning websites and/or receiving instruction in math, science, language arts and social studies with our dedicated teaching staff. Our lessons are designed to meet Virginia State Standards of Learning (SOLs), so parents can rest assured children continue working toward state graduation requirements.
Partial Program students also access materials from their own schools, and our staff are in coordination with each school to communicate any level of care change. Our onsite classrooms help students maintain awareness of the school environment and their responsibilities for schoolwork when they return home in the evenings. We also facilitate transition days—times when students move between the hospital program and their school. When appropriate, patients may complete transition days at their own school. Whether they need to transition from our inpatient program to the partial program or return directly to school, we help with concerns, including anxiety or school refusal, and provide the opportunity for students to experience success. Our staff communicates daily to determine "who's going to school tomorrow" and make appropriate arrangements.
How You Benefit
From intake assessment and assistance/monitoring during transitional periods to discharge planning and aftercare, Dominion Hospital's Education Services coordinates critical educational services to support students during treatment for mental health issues. Our approach is to work with students in the least restrictive environment possible, and our goal is to make the proper assessment that puts students on the best path for successful discharge and aftercare.
We're also involved in community partnerships, special events, and school advisory boards, so we know what's going on in our regional school systems and can intervene and deliver the appropriate care for students.
Learn more about school refusal as a potential symptom of deeper mental health issues in children and adolescents.