The Acute Treatment Unit (ATU) is a 16-bed inpatient facility for men and women 18 years of age or older who are in an emotional crisis or have a serious psychiatric issue. It is offered as a less restrictive alternative to hospitalization.
The ATU provides a safe and secure environment for individuals who do not require hospitalization or an extended length of stay. Because of the smaller size of the ATU, staff can work more closely with each client, providing group, individual, and/or family therapy, along with medication evaluation and management, if indicated. When clients are released from the ATU, their treatment continues with continuity of care that includes discharge planning and assessment of the appropriate type of care in the community. Family members are encouraged to be involved, and with the client’s permission will be consulted and educated on the client’s condition and recommended follow-up care.
The average stay at the ATU is around five days. Although the ATU is staffed by nurses and a psychiatrist, it is licensed to provide only psychiatric services, and is unable to provide medical services to those individuals who may also have major medical problems for which they require additional assistance. Individuals who are violent and require restraint are not suitable for the ATU, as well as individuals who are intoxicated, withdrawing from substance abuse, immobile, or incontinent.
The ATU also serves clients who are transitioning from a higher level of care back into the community. During the period of transition in the ATU, the client continues to receive treatment and works on their discharge plan and coping skills to aid in the return to their home and community.