The 4 South inpatient unit is part of the Washington Heights Community Service where treatment is provided for a variety of psychiatric illness, with a majority of people receiving treatment for a psychotic disorder (e.g., Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder) or a major affective disorder (e.g., Bipolar Disorder or Major Depression). Given the demographics of Northern Manhattan and the large number of immigrants from Latin American and Caribbean countries, the unit is run on a bilingual basis and many staff members are from Spanish speaking countries. Inpatient staff utilize all therapeutic modalities, including pharmacotherapy, individual psychotherapy, group therapy and family therapy. People admitted to the unit are involved at all stages of their treatment in creating a personalized, recovery focused treatment plan. Moreover, the staff has access to the vast expertise of faculty of the Columbia University Medical School's Department of Psychiatry, as well as to the medical and surgical services of New York Presbyterian Hospital, in order to diagnose and treat medical conditions that arise during a person’s inpatient stay.
In addition to providing state of the art psychiatric care, the WHCS inpatient unit serves as one of the major psychiatric teaching units in the New York Presbyterian Hospital system and Columbia University. Psychiatric residents, medical students, nursing students, social work interns, and occupational therapy students all rotate through the service. Supervision is provided by the members of permanent staff in each of the foregoing disciplines, who work in multidisciplinary teams, along with the students, that are dedicated to providing the best care possible. Most people discharged from the inpatient unit are referred to one of the two WHCS outpatient clinics, where they continue to receive culturally sensitive, personalized, comprehensive psychiatric care from psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, many of whom have faculty appointments in the Columbia University Medical School.