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What to Expect

What to Expect

We understand that mental health and substance use addiction crises are likely the most difficult, stressful and unfamiliar times in a person’s life as well as for their loved ones. Whether this is your first time with us or any behavioral health facility, whether you come to us voluntarily or involuntarily via legal processes, our desire to provide a quality, effective and positive experience at Saint Simons By-The-Sea is unreserved.

The behavioral health treatment experience can be confusing and filled with unknowns. We hope to clarify a few things about what patients and family members may expect. While you’re on this page, check out what a few patients had to say about their experience in their testimonials.

Patient Experience

Patients come to us for safety, stabilization and treatment. While each patient may experience this in different ways, we utilize evidence-based programming to maximize the potential for effective treatment and excellent care.

As part of our interdisciplinary approach, patients will participate in a wide range of assessments and evaluations including but not limited to psychiatric, psychosocial, medical, nursing, recreational, and if applicable, dietary. Successful treatment will involve patients following the unit schedule and attending group therapies daily as group treatment is the primary therapy modality for inpatient psychiatric treatment. Depending on the age as well as needs and goals of the patient, limited family therapies may also be utilized while individual therapies are limited and on an as-needed basis.

Treatment and discharge planning will involve the patient and their treatment team including the therapist, physician, nursing and direct care staff. Patients will also receive medication management from a physician and/or nurse practitioner in addition to group therapies and activities. Daily programming consists of a robust schedule of group psychotherapy, educational discussions, recreational therapies and therapeutic activities as well as time for hygiene, meals and personal journaling and reflection.

Patients may share a room with one other patient, but are expected to remain in the common areas or group room outside of hygiene and sleep time and especially during any scheduled group or activity time. Adult patients are allowed to smoke at designated times and in designated areas, depending on patient participation in the unit schedule.

Family Experience

Family members and loved ones of patients in inpatient psychiatric care are likely to experience some uncertainty, anxiety and confusion. We hope to clarify a few things to make this experience easier to understand and anticipate.

Communication and visitation with patients in psychiatric inpatient settings is different than what may be experienced in medical/surgical facilities. While patients do not have designated phones in their rooms, there are community phones on the unit that are accessible outside of scheduled group therapies and therapeutic activities. Patients are able to call loved ones or friends at their own discretion. In fairness to other patients, this time may be limited as the number of phones on each unit is limited.

Behavioral health care is a process that may begin with hospitalization, but is not likely to find immediate or absolute resolution. Most of our patients will continue their treatment after discharge with ongoing therapies and psychiatric care in the community. Many patients may need other levels of services including partial hospitalization programs (PHP), intensive outpatient programs (IOP), short or long-term residential treatment or other specialty treatments. Some may find themselves in another crisis or relapse and need another hospitalization. Every path is different, but our hope is to help provide and successful start to the journey with the right tools, resources and plans.

Release of Information (ROI)

Adult patients decide who may receive an ROI to speak with treatment team members about the patient’s treatment, discharge plans and progress. In most cases, only one family member is identified and given this authorization. For adolescents or senior adults with a Power of Attorney (POA), their legal guardian or POA will be the individual to decide who else may receive ROI. ROI may be limited to verbal communication and may not include access to medical records. We also encourage the provision of ROI(s) for outpatient providers for clinical communications and effective discharge planning.

Confidentiality Number

Confidentiality numbers provide limited access to general acknowledgment that the patient is in our hospital, but does not alone include access to treatment information or other details without an ROI. Any family member or loved one who receives a confidentiality number may call and verify their loved one is or has been our patient and may leave a message requesting the patient to call back during designated phone times. The patient will then have the discretion to return the call.


Due to the current pandemic and for the health and safety of our patients and staff, visitation is currently suspended. Please ask a staff member or check back here for updates to this policy as what we know about this virus continues to grow and evolve.

Patient Testimonials

  • “I thought the staff was incredible. They were very helpful and sensitive. I felt very safe and comfortable and was pleased that they made accommodations for each person’s needs.” – Patient
  • “Saint Simons By-The-Sea was a potential lifesaver for me. Now it is up to me to follow my plan for recovery. I was having anxiety and started to check out early in treatment, but my doctor worked with me and would not let me give up. You have a great program and staff! Thank you!” – Patient
  • “With 34 years in healthcare, I saw the other side for the first time. You should be very proud of your staff. They are dedicated and engaged in the mission. Your staff makes a difference – do not forget that! Thank God for your profession and bless your commitment to it!” – Patient
  • “All of the staff was extremely caring and helpful. Each of them went above and beyond what they NEEDED to do to help me. I am very grateful to all staff of this hospital!” – Patient

We're Here to Help

Looking for care for yourself or a loved one? Call us at 1-800-821-7224 to speak with an admissions representative about the next step in seeking treatment.