Personal Belongings on Mental Health Units: What Can Patients Take with Them?

Many facilities only allow patients to wear paper clothing which is provided to patients upon arrival, along with facility approved personal care items which are kept locked in the nurses’ station when not being used. The safety of each patient, staff member, and visitor is priority. Some low acuity or long-term facilities are more flexible; some long-term facilities are even more strict. Visitors, please don’t bring these items to your loved ones unless approved by the facility.

Items Which Are (Usually) Considered Contraband in Inpatient Crisis Stabilization Units:

  1. Underwire bras (Some facilities will not allow any type of bra.)
  2. Electronics, including cell phones and smart watches
  3. Spiral notebooks (if spiral is metal wire); Composition books are usually allowed.
  4. Hard sole shoes (Some units do not allow any shoes, only socks.)
  5. Clothing with drawstrings
  6. Belts
  7. Shoelaces
  8. Any type of cord
  9. Nail files or clippers
  10. Nail polish
  11. Razors
  12. Jewelry
  13. Pens and pencils (They will provide special writing supplies.)
  14. Hand sanitizer
  15. Plastic bags (even in trash cans)
  16. Outside food or drink
  17. Hats
  18. Mirrors
  19. Purses
  20. Wallets
  21. Stuffed animals (some exceptions apply)
  22. Canes or walkers (depends on facility, unit policy, and population)
  23. Sunglasses
  24. Keys and keyrings
  25. Identification (it will be placed in a secured, locked location)
  26. Credit cards
  27. Hairspray (or spray deodorant)
  28. Lotions and perfume
  29. Tobacco of any kind
  30. E-cigarettes

Feel free to add items you see are missing in the comment section.

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