What to Pack for Someone Entering an Inpatient Mental Health Program
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Taking a loved one to inpatient mental health treatment in the San Jose area can be a whirlwind of emotions. You want to make sure you do everything you can to help support them on their journey toward healing. While packing may seem like a small and unimportant detail, it can be a way for you to show your love and provide them with comfort during this transition. 

Essentials for a smooth start

The first and possibly most important thing to do is check with the facility to see if they have any packing guidelines or restrictions. Before packing, contact the facility to inquire about any specific guidelines or restrictions regarding items you can bring. They may have policies regarding prohibited items for safety or security reasons. When you are packing for a loved one to begin inpatient treatment, you’ll want to make sure they have the essentials like:

  • Comfortable clothing — The number of days’ worth of clothing to pack for an inpatient stay can vary depending on the length of one’s stay, access to laundry facilities, and personal preferences. It’s also helpful to consider the type of clothing appropriate for activities and the climate of the facility. Choose comfortable, easy-to-wear clothing that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor activities, if applicable. Additionally, if laundry facilities are available on-site or nearby, your loved one may be able to pack fewer clothes and plan to do laundry as needed during their stay. Think of their favorite pajamas, underwear, socks, daywear, and clothing they can comfortably move in. 
  • Basic necessities — Pack their toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant and feminine hygiene products if needed. Consider travel-sized options to save space. Comfortable slippers and shower shoes can also be beneficial for hygiene and essential for personal comfort.
  • Comfort items — For some reminders of home and to be a source of comfort, you may want to pack a treasured photo of friends or loved ones, a favorite stuffed animal, a small journal, or a book of inspirational quotes. Your loved one’s program may encourage open communication with loved ones, so you can discuss in advance what will be the most helpful in your situation.
  • Important documents — If possible, pack a copy of your loved one’s insurance card, photo ID and a list of their current medications. Their program can work with you to help ensure they have a smooth transition and provide any additional information they may need during the admission process. 
  • Medications — If your loved one takes prescription medications, they should make sure they have an ample supply for their entire stay. Pack them in their original containers, and include any necessary medical equipment such as inhalers or glucose monitors.
  • Snacks and drinks — While many facilities provide meals and snacks, having favorite snacks on hand can be comforting. Pack nonperishable snacks like granola bars, nuts or dried fruit, along with a refillable water bottle.

Beyond the essentials: Supporting their well-being

While the essentials can help ensure your loved one’s physical comfort, other things you can pack to support their emotional well-being may include:

  • Stress relief tools — Their program will help them learn and adopt healthy coping mechanisms. You can help equip them by packing a stress ball, a small coloring book and crayons, or a notebook for journaling. These items can be helpful tools for managing anxiety or promoting relaxation during their stay.
  • Creative outlets — If your loved one enjoys a particular creative pursuit, you can pack some basic supplies for them to continue that activity. This could be a pack of playing cards, a small sketchbook or other crafting materials. Check with their program about any restrictions. Creative expression can be a powerful tool to help them process their emotions and promote healing. 
  • Music and entertainment — Check with their program about their guidelines on electronics. If allowed, you could pack a small music player with headphones or earbuds. You could load it up with some of their favorite music or some downloaded audiobooks by their favorite authors for them to enjoy during downtime.
  • A phone list — Personal phones may be restricted at their program, so making sure they have a list of important phone numbers can help your loved one stay connected with supportive people outside of the program. 

Care after inpatient treatment with Lightfully Behavioral Health

At Lightfully Behavioral Health, we understand the importance of inpatient treatment as a crucial first step. We also recognize the ongoing need for support beyond the inpatient phase of care, and offer a continuum of treatment programs designed to meet each client’s unique needs.Whether you are transitioning from an inpatient psychiatric setting or one of our Residential Treatment Centers (RTCs), we offer a variety of outpatient levels of care in the San Jose area to continue to support your loved one. Lightfully’s treatment approach is built on the foundation of process-based-therapy (PBT), a method that actively engages individuals in identifying and addressing the underlying psychological processes contributing to their mental health struggles. We use this in all of our levels of care, including:

  • Partial Hospitalization Program — Our Partial Hospitalization Program is also called our Day Treatment Program. It is an intensive level of care but the client has the ability to enjoy their evenings in the comfort of their own home. Our Day Treatment Program includes intensive treatment and services during the day such as:
  • Two weekly sessions with a primary therapist
  • A weekly family session
  • A weekly session with a psychiatrist
  • Group sessions every day led by one of our expert clinicians
  • Intensive Outpatient Program — Our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a less intensive schedule compared to our Day Treatment Program, but still provides your loved one with significant support while they remain in their home. Our IOP services can help our clients who are experiencing a variety of mental health disorders. Programming can include:
  • A weekly session with a primary therapist
  • Several family group sessions
  • Sessions with a psychiatrist as needed
  • Weekly treatment plan updates
  • Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program — To broaden the access to care, we offer a Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP). This program can provide intensive supportive care from the comfort of your loved one’s home to meet their unique needs and schedule. Our vIOP can be ideal for those transitioning from any level of care or if they’re seeking mental health care for the first time. Our vIOP program offers:
  • Three hours of group therapy sessions starting five days a week
  • An individual therapy session outside of group sessions

These programs provide your loved one with continued therapy and support. This can help your loved one transition back to daily life with a careful balance of support and independence. Our licensed clinical experts are dedicated to providing your loved one with whole-person-centered care to help them set and achieve their mental health goals. 

We are here to support you and your loved one every step of the way. Change is possible. If you’d like more information, contact us. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of them.

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