Hospital for Special Care Expands Access to Autism Inpatient Care, Opens New Eight-bed UnitApril 6, 2022
New Britain, CT – Hospital for Special Care (HFSC) opened a new eight-bed Autism Inpatient Unit for children and adolescents today in New Britain. Joining the hospital’s 12-bed unit as the only inpatient resource specifically for youth diagnosed with autism in Connecticut, the new unit will provide six new treatment beds and two crisis beds, addressing a critical need for care in the state.
HFSC’s inpatient care unit serves children and adolescents experiencing severe behaviors that may include harm to self or others, or destruction to property. “When a child or adolescent with autism exhibits severe behaviors, the entire family can be impacted,” said Hassan Minhas, MD, Chief of Autism Services at HFSC. “Stabilizing the child and helping the parents develop new skills to manage those behaviors are essential components to good care.” The hospital’s inpatient treatment program has an average length of stay of 28 days and patients experience lower readmission rates and fewer visits to the emergency room following treatment.
The inpatient care resources are a part of HFSC’s comprehensive continuum of care for autism. The hospital’s Partial Hospital Program – another unique resource in Connecticut – opened in 2021 to provide a step up or step-down level of care bridging a gap between levels of care. Outpatient resources including psychiatry, psychology, family therapy, speech, occupational and physical therapy services help families achieve success in the community. The continuum, first developed in 2012 in response to community need, has grown extensively as recognition of autism and early diagnosis has improved. Prevalence in the United States is now estimated at 1 in 44 children.
Hospital for Special Care’s autism services have achieved national recognition. HFSC has been designated by the National Commission for Quality as the nation’s only Patient-Centered Specialty Practice for Autism. The organization was also cited in a 2021 study conducted by Stanford University’s Center for Clinical Excellence as among the top four autism programs in the country.
Although the programs primarily serve Connecticut residents, referrals for care come from across the United States and beyond. “Inpatient care designed specifically to meet the needs of youth impacted by autism spectrum disorder is difficult to find in the U.S., and abroad,” said Dr. Minhas. “We have shared our work with teams from as far as Turkey and China, to support expanded adoption of coordinated models of care.”
Resources of interest:
Stanford Center for Clinical Excellence Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFyY2zdlHWQ
Stanford Center for Clinical Excellence Study: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/13623613211027999