Professional Referrals to the Acadia Hospital Psychiatric Observation Unit

Acadia Hospital now features a 10-bed Psychiatric Observation Unit (POU) designed for rapid assessment and observation of behavioral health patients and brings multi-disciplinary psychiatric care to individuals as early as possible for a 24-hour period. Emergency Departments and other providers, like physicians’ offices or certain mental health agencies, have the option of either engaging community crisis services or requesting transfer to the POU once the patient is medically cleared and not in restraints.

Walk-ins to the POU are not accepted, patients access the service through professional referral only. Individuals can access other services by calling the Access Center at 973-6048.

Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding professional referrals to the Psychiatric Observation Unit.

Frequently​ Asked Questions:

Can a patient under involuntary papers, "blue-papered,” be referred to the Observation Unit?

Yes. The Observation Unit will accept such requests and continue to assess and stabilize while planning for the next phase of care.

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How does an Observation Unit differ from an inpatient unit?

Both units are staffed with psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and psychiatric social workers. The POU focuses on assessment and interventions aimed at stabilizing a person in crisis within hours of presentation. While some patients will be transferred to an inpatient unit for a longer course of care, many will be discharged back to the community from the POU.

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How does the Observation Unit benefit patients?

The observation unit allows patients in acute crisis to transfer from an emergency department to a psychiatric care center much earlier in the process.

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How does the referral process work?

To make a referral, call Acadia Hospital’s Access Center (973-6048 or 1-800-640-1211); at which time screening questions will be asked and takes about five minutes.

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How old do patients need to be in order to be admitted to the Psychiatric Observation Unit?

Patients 16 and older can be referred to the Psychiatric Observation Unit.

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Our emergency department is quite a distance from Bangor. What cases should I refer?

Acadia can assist you in making this decision, but it is ultimately the provider’s decision about whether to send a patient to the POU for an evaluation or to seek assistance from an area crisis service or provider.

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What if I am unsure if my patient is appropriate for the Observation Unit?

Feel free to call and request a screening consultation to assist you in this decision.

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What if the patient will not allow lab testing? Will this hold up the transfer?

No. Please strive to obtain the lab tests, but patient refusal will not preclude the ability to transfer.

If you have any additional questions not listed here, or if you would like to provide feedback about the Observation Unit, please contact our Psychiatric Observation Unit Administrator at 973-6860.

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What must be accomplished prior to Acadia accepting the patient?

Crisis services can be used for the evaluation, if desired. The patient must be medically cleared (per the Medical Clearance Criteria) and stable during transfer. The referring provider will be asked to perform a breathalyzer test, urine drug screen and pregnancy test for women of childbearing age and forward the results to the POU when available. The Acadia provider can consult on issues pertaining to stabilization of a patient.

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Will all transfers to Acadia go through the Acadia Observation Unit?

No. Patients with predicted longer courses of care will be considered for an Acadia Inpatient Unit or referred to another psychiatric hospital.

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