Services | Inpatient Services

Inpatient Services

How to make a referral to the Inpatient Unit

Working with 3G

Children and youth who need mental health hospital care will stay in the RBC Child & Youth Mental Health Unit. This inpatient unit is on 3G – on the third floor of McMaster Children’s Hospital.

girl teen with dark hair

Child and youth may need our help to:

  • Be safe
  • Assess their mental health
  • Review their medications
  • Treat mental health issues
  • Plan care in their community, so they can go home

Who will be involved in the care?

A team of health care providers and support staff will work closely with the child or youth and their and family. The health team may include with:

  • Child & youth workers
  • Nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Pharmacists
  • Social workers
  • Teachers

As we are a teaching hospital, medical residents and students in health professions may also be involved in your child’s/youth’s care.

As a parent or caregiver,what do I need to do while my child is on 3G?

We ask parents/caregivers to attend our “Caregiver Connections” group and other meetings so we can share information about our program and what your child/youth is learning. These meetings are scheduled during normal business hours. View the Information for Parents and Caregivers guide.

How long will child/youth stay on the 3G unit?

How long children/youth stay on 3G depends on their needs. Each person's needs are different, but most stay only a few days.
When you come to 3G, the health care team will work closely with you and your family to determine your needs and plan yourcare. This includes making plans for when you leave 3G. This is called discharge planning. View the Inpatient Information for Children and Youth.

What will my child or youth be doing on 3G?

When you come to 3G, team members will talk with you and your child/youth to better understand what led to this hospital stay and how we can help. Your child/youth will complete a “behavioural analysis” (BA). By working through the BA, your child/youth shares important information with the team. This will help us:

  • Understand why your child/youth was admitted
  • Identify the skills your child/youth can learn to prevent coming back to hospital

After completing the BA, your child/youth can attend groups with other children/youth and meet with different team members. Our staff will be your child’s/youth’s coach. We will help your child/youth learn and practice new skills in new situations. At times, staff take groups of children/youth off the unit for an activity or a walk. If you have concerns about these off-unit activities, please let us know.

When can I visit my child/youth?

We suggest that you visit after 4 pm, when programs on the unit are finished. If this does not work for you, please discuss with staff. We ask all parents, caregivers and visitors to leave their belongings (such as their purse, phone or bag) in their car or put them in a locker on 3G.

Can my child/youth leave the 3G unit?young girl

The option of leaving the unit with staff or visitors is based on information from you, your child/youth and the health care team. Safety is most important in making this decision.To help you and your child/youth prepare for discharge, the team may plan day or overnight passes. When possible, your child/youth will have passes over a weekend.

What about my child/youth's school work?

Please bring in your child’s/youth’s school work. Our team includes teachers who can help your child continue their homework.

We may ask for your permission to:

  • Send a letter to your school principal explaining your child’s/youth’s absence from school.
  • Speak with the school to learn more about your child’s/youth’s school experience and plan their@return to school.

What can my child/youth bring to the 3G unit?

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Hairbrush, comb
  • Soap, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, feminine sanitary products
  • Clothes that are similar to a school dress code. Please bring only enough clothing for 3 days.
  • Pajamas, slippers, socks, undergarments, shoes (without laces or laces will be removed)
  • Schoolwork, books, journals for writing( without wire bindings)
  • MP3 players, iPods (without built in cameras, WiFi features or a glass screen)

The 3G unit is not responsible for any lost or stolen articles. Staff may notice other items that they feel are not safe and will need to be removed and sent home.

What things are not allowed on the unit?

The following is a list of items that will not be allowed on the unit. For everyone's safety, we search all children/youth's personal belongings when they arrive, after off-ward visits and as needed. Any unsafe items are sent home or disposed of safely.

  • Communication devices (cell phones, computers etc.)
  • Handheld gaming devices
  • Recording devices (cameras, digital recorders)
  • Sharp objects (glass, mirrors, tweezers, scissors, cans, hangers)
  • Plastic bags
  • Belts, cords, strings (shoelaces, ties/strings in hoodies)
  • Nail polish, nail polish removers
  • Cigarettes, lighters
  • Alcohol, drugs
  • Weapons
  • Pillows and blankets (for infection control reasons)

How do we ensure safety on the unit?

Everyone’s safety is important to us, including all children, youth, staff and visitors. We need to provide a safe environment, free from:

  • Violence, aggression, self-harm, lying, racism, sexism and/or negative comments about sexual identity. We do not allow clothing or any items that support any of these ideas.
  • Bullying, threatening and/or verbal abuse.
  • Substances including cigarettes, alcohol and drugs (and the supplies related to drug use).

Tell your child/youth to talk to staff right away if they feel unsafe or think they may do something dangerous. Staff will coach your child/youth to identify and practice skills that will help.

Any time that a patient’s behaviour causes safety concerns, staff will work with the patient to become calm. If this does not work, and the safety of the patient or others remains a concern, we would need to consider methods of restraint as the last option.

Assessing the risk of violence

If we receive information that a child/youth is at serious risk of harming others, we may participate in a “Violence Threat Risk Assessment”. This assessment determines how best to support the child/youth so their behaviour does not become dangerous.

To do the assessment, we contact the child’s/youth’s school and other community agencies. We also tell the police that a Violence Threat Risk Assessment is occurring.

As this assessment is a standard response for community agencies in Hamilton, we may be contacted by a school or community agency if they are conducting a Violence Threat Risk Assessment. If your child/youth is at risk of harming others, we will meet with you or your child/youth to discuss our concerns. We will ask you or your child/youth for permission (consent) to share information with the community. Please note that in some situations we are required to disclose information, without consent.

Can my child/youth make treatment decisions?boy and dad

The hospital operates under the Health Care Consent Act. This Act states that a capable patient of any age can consent (agree) to a treatment. The consent of their parent or caregiver is not necessary.

The health care team decides whether a patient is capable. Your child/youth is capable of making a treatment decision if they can:

  • Understand the information relevant to the treatment decision
  • Understand the possible consequences of making the decision or not
  • Tell us their decision

If the team finds your child/youth incapable of making a specific treatment decision, then someone else (usually a parent or guardian) will be assigned to make the decision. This person is called a "substitute decision maker".

How is the privacy of personal information protected?

We want you to feel comfortable sharing your concerns with us. We will keep these concerns within your child’s/youth’s care team, unless we have consent to share it.

We also must protect the privacy of your child’s/youth’s personal information. We will ask for your child’s/youth’s consent before sharing their information with others or getting information from others.

  • If your child/youth is capable, they have the right to keep their information private from anyone they choose, including their parents.
  • If your child/youth is not capable to provide this consent, then we will look to a "substitute decision maker" for consent.

There are times, however, when we cannot maintain confidentiality. If we become aware of a situation in which a child/youth needs protection, we will report it to the appropriate authorities.

Those situations include:

  • If any child or youth under the age of 16 is being hurt or abused, or at risk of being hurt or abused.
  • If anyone is in imminent danger of hurting themselves or someone else.
  • If a regulated health professional is or has been sexually inappropriate with someone.
  • If the courts ask for our records.

Will my child/youth be involved in research?

Research is an important part of the work we do. Through research we learn how to best help children and youth with mental health needs.

While on 3G, we may ask you and your child/youth if you would like to be involved in current or future research. Whether or not you wish to take part in research is up to you. Your decision will not affect your child’s/youth’s care in any way.


The 3G unit has washing machines and dryers available for use.

How to make a referral to the Inpatient Unit.

How can I contact the 3G team?

RBC Child and Youth Mental Health Unit (3G)
1200 Main Street West, PO Box 2000
Hamilton, ON
L8N 3Z5


3G Unit: (905) 521-2100, ext. 72800

3G Unit Managers: (905) 521-2100, ext. 77326 or 77298