What to Expect When You Come in For Outpatient Care | Psychiatry | Dartmouth-Hitchcock
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What to Expect When You Come in For Outpatient Care

You care will begin with a comprehensive evaluation to get a clear understanding of what you are seeking, to understand your situation, and to settle on a shared plan of action.

Before the appointment

To make our initial evaluations more efficient and effective, we will ask you for some information before the appointment. Also at the time of the visit we may ask you to fill out a questionnaire so we can track your progress over time. This questionnaire can be done on a small tablet computer in the office or from your own computer through myD-H.

It would also be helpful to bring a list of your medications and their dosage, or the medications themselves, to the first visit.

During the first appointment

You will meet with your clinician in a private room where he or she will provide you with some information about what will be discussed in the appointment, information about confidentiality and seek to understand your history.

These are the topics that are typically covered in an initial evaluation:

  • Reason for coming to the appointment
  • History of current symptoms or difficulties
  • Contributing factors
  • Past psychiatric history
  • General medical history
  • Current medications
  • Medication allergies
  • Trauma history
  • Experience with nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, and drugs
  • Social history such as living situation, work or school, family and friendships, education history

The clinician will then work with you to put it all together and come up with a plan for the next steps. Next steps often include gathering more history, consulting with others, sharing the pros and cons of treatment options, and beginning treatment, if that treatment makes sense to both of you. Sometimes you and the evaluating clinician will conclude that the care you need is offered outside of Dartmouth-Hitchcock. If this is the case our clinic staff will assist you in connecting with that source of care.

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