Psychiatric Facility (Whole Buildings Design Guide)
This article, published on the National Institute of Sciences' Whole Buildings Design Guide (WBDG) web site, outlines the range of psychiatric facilities, which includes psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric and neuro-psychiatric nursing units of general hospitals, facilities for the psychiatric medically infirm, gero-psychiatric units, alcohol and drug addiction treatment facilities (both inpatient and outpatient), mental health clinics, day hospitals, day treatment centers, and others. In addition to inpatient nursing units, psychiatric hospitals include their associated diagnostic and treatment areas, as well as the necessary dietetic, supply, housekeeping, and administrative spaces common to all hospitals. They do not generally include the complex and high-tech diagnostic and treatment areas of general hospitals. Psychiatric hospitals may include outpatient psychiatric areas. These areas should be located on a direct path from the lobby, and circulation paths of the outpatients should be separated from the paths of the more acutely ill inpatients. Teaching hospitals will also include spaces for training and education, and often spaces for research studies.
The mental health clinic is the basic outpatient unit, providing an interface between inpatient care and the community. As such, it provides preventative care, primary care, and aftercare. The clinic may also serve as a site for research and for training of mental health professionals on all aspects of outpatient treatment of mental health problems.