Psychiatric hospitals* are hospitals that exclusively concentrate on offering care to patients experiencing a range of mental health conditions.
Not only psychiatric hospitals but also general hospitals can admit patients in need of psychiatric care to a psychiatric hospital department*.
You can find an overview of the psychiatric hospitals recognised in Flanders here.

French Community Commission (COCOF):
The psychiatric hospitals authorized by the French Community Commission are psychiatric hospitals for children and adolescents.
The French Community Commission also authorizes initiatives of sheltered residence that provide with shelter and guidance for people who don't need permanent treatment in hospital and who, for psychiatric motives, must be helped in their living and dwelling environments for the acquisition of social skills and for whom adapted daily activities have to be organized.

Psychiatric hospital departments
Children and adults in need of psychiatric care* can call on the psychiatric department of a general hospital* (GH) or on a psychiatric hospital* (PH). These facilities offer emergency and non-emergency mental health care. They also provide intensive treatment for adults suffering from behavioural disorders and/or aggressive adult patients.


Every psychiatric hospital department must meet specific standards* before it will be recognised* and funded.

French Community Commission (COCOF):
2 psychiatric hospitals and 5 Initiatives of sheltered residence are authorized by the French Community Commission.
The authorization is given on the basis of general and specific standards defined in the co-ordinated Law concerning hospitals and other health care institutions of 10 July 2008 and in the Decree of the Executive of the French Community of 5 November 1987 establishing the terms for authorization, closure and the appeal procedure for hospitals, heavy medical technical services, sections, functions, initiatives of sheltered residence and associations of psychiatric institutions and services, modified by the decree of the Executive of the French Community of 6 January 1992.

Care quality and patient safety

French Community Commission (COCOF):
The hospital unit must respect the law of 22 August 2002 concerning patients' rights

Walloon Region:
Wallonia has not developed a specific qualitative approach, although it is competent to draw up complementary quality standards. Its inspection work is therefore currently concerned only with the evaluation of organisational indicators (e.g. staffing standards) and some process indicators (e.g. the inspectors check whether seclusion records are being properly used).
Alongside inspections in the context of the approval procedures, it sometimes draws up recommendations on a specific subject or on the interpretation of a standard (e.g. recommendations concerning the deprivation of liberty in psychiatry), as well as holding regular consultations with hospital federations on different subjects.
Wallonia has recently gained a platform bringing together all healthcare actors (authorities, federations, insurance organisations, schools of public health), with the following five objectives:
- discuss the development of standards;
- produce indicators;
- plan and monitor the implementation of accreditation processes;
- structure inspection/approval and accreditation;
- share practices, in particular concerning processes.

Monitoring and evaluation

A psychiatric hospital is checked and evaluated via audits and inspections.
An audit is a snapshot of the whole hospital. This audit takes place when the hospital’s accreditation is renewed, at least once every five years. A multidisciplinary team including a psychiatrist, psychologist and nurses, goes on site to inspect whether the hospital complies with the accreditation standards.
The audits have a double function:
• on one hand the audit team checks the accreditation standards;
• in addition the auditor encourages the hospitals to make improvements of their own volition.
An inspection is actually a limited audit. In an inspection a smaller team (sometimes 1 person) checks a particular hospital service. Such an inspection is performed at the first recognition of the hospital service.
The Flemish Agency for Care and Health works together with the Flemish Care Inspectorate for the audits and inspections.

French Community Commission (COCOF):
The standards are controlled by the administration of the French Community Commission.

Walloon Region:
Wallonia is competent for the inspection and approval of psychiatric hospitals, see the portal "Action Sociale et Santé en Wallonie".

Common Community Commission (Brussels):
The standards are checked by the inspection service and the health service of the Common Community Commission annually. In addition, there are inspections carried out when there is a change in the number of beds, a new manager, a change in the asbl such as the name of the asbl, address or the location, a change in the objectives of the institution or the recognition standards.

* see Glossary