Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions and Stay

How does the admitting process begin?

As with all medical care, psychiatric care is a collaborative process. Patients need to know as much as possible from their treatment teams about how to get well and prevent future illness. Similarly, treatment teams need to know patient history as well as any questions and concerns they have about their health and treatment in order to get them on the road to recovery. Collaboration among the patient, family and treatment team is critical to treatment success.

When patients arrive at John George Psychiatric Hospital (JGPH), they are admitted through the Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES), where they are met by our clinical team who gathers preliminary information as part of the evaluation process. Each patient's belongings are placed in a secured area. John George Psychiatric Hospital is committed to providing a safe environment for our patients and staff, thus patients undergo a body and belongings search as part of the admission process. Patients are given an identification wristband, which must be worn at all times. The next step in the process requires the staff nurse to assess the patient's nursing care needs, psychiatric condition and anticipated medication management needs. The clinical evaluator will then do a provisional diagnostic evaluation, and a team will work to determine the level of care and treatment plan.

Once completed, the treatment plan is reviewed with the patient and his or her family. Patients not admitted to the hospital are sometimes referred to Alameda County’s network of client services and community resources appropriate to an individual's provider network and treatment needs.

What should I bring with me to the hospital?

In situations where a patient does not have the opportunity to bring items to the hospital with them, JGPH will provide everything necessary for the patient to have a comfortable stay.


Patients should wear comfortable, casual clothes while at JGPH. We suggest you bring a few changes of machine-washable day and night wear, including underwear, socks, shoes, sweat shirts and sweat pants and slippers. Patients should mark all pieces of clothing, as well as such items as eyeglasses, contacts lenses and canes.
JGPH has a limited supply of clean, donated clothing items for patients of all sizes. Once a patient selects an item, it is his or hers to keep. Unit staff can assist patients with these needs.  Donated items also are welcome.

  • Medications
    Please bring an up-to-date list of the medications you are currently taking but leave all medications at home. Medications that are brought to the hospital will be stored in the JGPH pharmacy and returned at the time of discharge with the written authorization of the treating physician.
  • Personal Belongings
    JGPH is not responsible for personal items, including eyeglasses and dentures. 
  • Personal Care Items
    Patients may bring the following items, if appropriate: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, soap container, hairbrush, comb, eyeglasses, contact-lens care material and deodorant. Please bring any durable medical equipment you will need, such as a cane, wheelchair, C-Pap machine, visual aids, hearing aids and if need be, batteries.

What should I not bring to the hospital?

  • Drugs and Alcohol
    Use of drugs and alcohol on JGPH property is not allowed.
  • Valuables
    Patients are advised to leave valuables, including jewelry, at home and not to carry more than $10 in cash.
  • Cameras are not allowed on the units, including those in cell phones and watches.

Who will be on my treatment team while I am hospitalized?

The staff of John George Psychiatric Hospital is here to ensure that patients receive the best care possible. Patients can identify staff members by the identification badges they wear, which display their name, photo and department. If anyone without an identification badge approaches a patient, the patient should request that he or she display his or her badge. JGPH is a training site for many academic institutions. Students from many clinical disciplines may participate in patient care.

Will my hospital stay be covered by insurance?

Questions regarding insurance benefits should be directed to the appropriate patient account representative responsible for patient accounts.

Are telephones available for patient use?

Telephones are located at various locations throughout the hospital, including all patient units.

Is smoking permitted at John George Psychiatric Hospital?

For the health of our patients and staff and to comply with state and federal regulations, smoking is prohibited in all hospital buildings.

What are the visiting hours at John George Psychiatric Hospital?

Visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week.

Are buildings at JGPH handicap accessible?

All inpatient care buildings have handicap access.

What other services are available to patients while at John George Psychiatric Hospital?

  • Interpreter Services/Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD)
    Interpreter services are available at no cost for non-English speaking patients and their families. Telecommunications Devices for Deaf and hearing-impaired patients also are available. Staff members will assist you in obtaining these services.
  • Mail/Packages
    Patients can send and receive mail. Any letters and packages sent by U.S. mail are delivered to and picked up from patient units on a daily basis.
  • Personal Vehicles/Parking
    Patients and their families are asked to observe parking restrictions, which are clearly marked. Illegally parked vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.
  • Restrooms
    Public restrooms are located in the JGPH Lobby.

Patient Rights

What are patients’ rights at JGPH?
Information regarding patients' civil rights is provided to all patients. Patients and family members are encouraged to contact the Patients’ Rights Office at 800-734-2540 or 510-835-2505 with any questions or concerns. All calls are returned as soon as possible by the Office of Patients’ Rights and are handled in a confidential manner.

Patient Confidentiality/Psychiatric Records

What are the privacy policies?
John George Psychiatric Hospital policies and Federal law protect the privacy of patients' identities and information.  In general, any disclosure of clinical information requires the patient's (or guardian's) written consent.  There are additional specific privacy protections under State law for persons with HIV, or who are participating in alcohol or drug abuse programs.  However, disclosures can occur without written consent in certain specific circumstance, such as by judicial order or in a medical emergency.

Can I see my Medical Records?
Patients may obtain a copy of their records by submitting a written request and authorization to the Medical Records Department will provide copies of a discharge summary without charge.

Who is allowed to inspect or be provided with copies of a patient's record at John George Psychiatric Hospital?
Consistent with current law, JGPH policy allows patients, their families, legal guardians or healthcare agents to request permission to either inspect a hospital record or obtain a copy of the discharge summary or other portion(s) of a record. A request must be accompanied by the consent of the patient or other legally authorized person. Although most requests are granted, if a determination is made that inspection will result in serious harm to the patient, such access will be denied.

Is my information discussed with the media?
Under no circumstances will patients or patient-related issues be discussed with a member of the media without the patient's written consent.