Crisis Stabilization Unit
The Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU), opened in 2014, is a short-term crisis assessment and treatment program that assists patients during a mental health crisis. A child or adolescent who is experiencing acute symptoms of mental illness who requires 24-hour supervised crisis intervention is suitable for the unit.
The CSU team works to stabilize the emotional, mental, and behavioral crisis of children and adolescents who are brought to the Rady Children’s Emergency Care Center seeking treatment. Specialists determine if the best course of action is to refer to inpatient treatment, to outpatient counseling, or release the patient to his or her home. The team works closely with children and their families to promote healing while empowering the patient to care for themselves during and after their stay.
The unit is operational 24 hours a day and is staffed by a registered nurse, licensed psychiatric technician, a licensed social worker, and an on-call psychiatric attending physician. The ultimate goal is to teach coping skills to patients within a short period of time to diminish the symptoms originally contributing to the hospitalization, assist them to effectively tolerate the frustration and stress in their daily lives, and engage family therapy and crisis management to divert or eliminate lengthy future hospital stays. This process is critical to the successful long-term outcomes for patients, some of whom are stabilized within a few days but still need to learn successful coping mechanisms to avoid regression upon discharge.
Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego has been granted a one-year license to pilot the CSU in response to the growing need for inpatient psychiatric beds in the area. With the pilot status, patients must be seen at Rady Children’s Emergency Care Center — not at other area hospitals — in order to receive care.