Frequently Asked Questions

We realize the decision to seek treatment for your child is a difficult decision to make. Please read our frequently asked questions below to learn more about North Star Behavioral Health System and the services we provide.

Note: The information below is for youth programs only

If you have a question not listed below, please call us at 907-258-7575 or toll-free in Alaska at 800-478-7575.

Yes, this is preferred. Each child is encouraged to wear their own clothing. During your child’s stay, they can bring with them 5 shirts, 5 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of pajamas, 7 pairs of underwear and 7 pairs of socks.

Daily telephone contact with parents and guardians is encouraged, and call times are designated throughout the day in the handbook. It is very important for you to have your privacy & to communicate daily with your child.  

Visiting is strongly encouraged. As a parent, your involvement is very important in the effectiveness of your child’s treatment. There are many ways we will ask you and other family member to take part. We recommend you participate in as many activities as possible and as frequently as possible.

Visitation typically lasts for thirty minutes during lunch and for one hour during dinner, unless prior arrangements have been made. Families are encouraged to participate in Family Night with their child, which is held once a week by the Clinical Therapy Department, and family Services are scheduled between the therapist and family.

As much as possible and weather permitting, youth take part daily in a variety of outdoor activities during Recreation Activity therapy, as well as, regular scheduled outdoor time. There is a playground, and children have the opportunity to take part in ropes course throughout the week facilitated by a certified Recreational Therapist who is Ropes Course certified. We also have a gym with many therapeutic activities available.

We are here to help and encourage you to ask questions. When a child is at North Star Hospital all medical decisions are made by the parent and/or guardian, including what medications the hospital may administer to the child. In addition, when a child is discharged from North Star with prescriptions, we try to ensure the medication(s) can be obtained in the child’s home community. Medications may be needed to help your child with specific psychiatric symptoms.

Medications and their effects are closely monitored on a 24-hour basis by skilled nursing staff. The Medical Doctor will contact you to obtain permission for any non-emergency psych-medications, prior to any medications given to your child. Most medications are to help alleviate symptoms of a mental health condition, and generally can be stopped with physician guidance as patients maintain improved functioning.

Meals, such as breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided in the cafeteria, and children receive healthy snacks three times a day, such as fruits and vegetables.  There are 3-dietitians on staff to ensure the children are receiving healthy, nutritious meals, and providing nutritional education for the child and the family. North Star is also a part of the national school lunch program.

We match your child’s curriculum to their school, so that when they return they are on track. Education is provided on hospital grounds by the Anchorage School District. Children will receive a full day of school instruction daily during the school year. The education department consists of ASD teachers, TA’s, a Transition Counselor, and ASD Principal, which are all on site.

Yes, North Star strives to make holidays memorable for the children; special activities are planned during all major holidays throughout the year, and parents and/or guardian are encouraged to attend.

Yes, letters and packages may be sent to your child while at North Star. Packages will be reviewed by staff members to ensure all items are appropriate for the child to have. Please check with nursing or your therapist to ensure they meet our staff guidelines.

Your child’s treatment will be individualized within the framework of the general program structure, to meet their individual needs. As each child is different, the length of time in the hospital will be determined by their individual treatment. Throughout treatment, the interdisciplinary treatment team will keep you informed of your child’s progress, behaviors, needs, and discuss the anticipated length of stay.

At admission, your child will be assigned a therapist; this individual acts as a liaison between your family and the treatment team. The Nurse acts as a link between your child’s therapist and them, and is often the point of contact. You are a significant component to their success and will work closely with the therapist. All treatment related issues, questions, or concerns are forwarded to the therapist for review.

The goal of North Star is to assist your child in understanding themselves better; identifying and developing strengths that they have, and learning behaviors which would enable them to return to your family and community as a respectful and productive member.

We look forward to helping you or your loved one identify problem areas and develop solutions.  

We look forward to working with your child and you, identifying and  focusing on areas where problems exist, and identifying solutions that  would improve the communication and the relationship between your child, your family, and the community.

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Take the First Step

Call 907-258-7575 or 800-478-7575 (toll-free Alaska) if you or a loved one struggles with psychiatric issues or substance abuse. We are here 24/7 to provide no-cost, confidential assessments and discuss treatment options. You may also message us using our online contact form.

Please dial 911 or seek the nearest emergency room if you have an emergency.