Psychiatric assessment units

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Wasted-Potential
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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 82
   Posted 6/22/2009 7:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Has anyone been in one and would like to share their experiences?

I was in one called Broadoak. It is a medium-risk unit that I was in for 12 days and then discharged because I was not mentally ill or suffering from depression. I did, however, leave with a permanent section next to my name against which my appeal was not even submitted so I'm screwed on that account.

The place itself is very much like a category C prison but with hospital flooring (those who have been in NHS hospitals will know what I mean) and you are allowed to wear your own clothes. You are also allowed out for more than an hour a day for fresh air in the yard but only usually if you are going out for a smoke. The door was opened at half past the hour, every hour for half an hour so as not to clash with the other wing from across the way who shared the yard with ours. The problem with that was their wing was very lax in security so the gate was never shut when it was our half hour so people from their wing would come over frequently. One lad from that wing was a regular Mr Fix-it . He never got caught smuggling stuff in as he always did it after the police sniffer dog had been for its weekly visit usually on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

The staff would light your cigarettes for you as you went out the door but very few actually allowed you to hold the lighter to spark up of your own accord which resulted in some of the lads singeing their eyebrows by having to duck down to spark up. The ones who got regular day release would smuggle them in and hide them either in their rooms at night and in their socks when they were out and about.

The food in there was the same as the stuff I used to have to eat for dinner in school; sometimes lukewarm and always served out of foil trays. It always seemed to be the same thing most days - chicken or meat and rice or potatoes. Still, psychiatric inpatients aren't meant to be fussy are they so they served us whatever they could get their hands on. A few lads would order something from the local takeaways which the staff would have to pick up at the door and pay with the patients' money. This was supposed to ensure that drugs did not get smuggled onto the premises but they did at times.

The staff themselves were as hard-nosed as you could find. Like in a prison, most patients called them "the screws". Some of them even lived up to that billing. One lad was physically dragged out of his bed by one. In somewhere like Ashworth I could understand that but this was a medium-risk one.

In terms of people trying to harm themselves or whatever, I didn't see any cases. Everyone tried to get on as best as they could but there were a few groups who stuck together. I was in one with a lad of around my age and an old-timer who had been in and out of the system for years as well as prison once or twice who got on well with us.

That was another thing I noticed, the only prison comparisons were in the landscape and what you had to do to get out of there i.e. keep your head down and get on with it. If you were short of a smoke there would be at least one person who would offer you one to tide you over. The big difference as that some people were more pally than others and had arranged to meet up on the outside when they were discharged. Big mistake. The old timer in our little group told us that the best way to be is that you don't have mates on the inside. If you see them when you get out then say hello by all means but don't get too friendly as it will be your undoing as he found out when one former inmate camped outside his house a couple of years back.

I can't think of much more to tell about my experience but I hope that it will be of some use to you.

Post Edited (Wasted-Potential) : 6/22/2009 10:52:54 AM (GMT-6)


Raniah
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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1190
   Posted 6/22/2009 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Rich,

Sorry I had to do a light edit again.....there are members as young as 13 on the forums, and we have to be careful about the details of our posts. I tried to leave in most of the original content so that people would benefit from your description of your experience. I thought your post was really interesting and informative, and I'm glad you felt comfortable sharing with us. Please continue to post.....we really care about how you're doing, and would like to know how things are going for you. I really want the very best for you, and hope you will get better soon.
 
 
Moderator, Depression Forum
 
“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”  ~Kahlil Gibran

 

 


Wasted-Potential
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 82
   Posted 6/22/2009 9:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Raniah.

Don't worry about editing the post as there were some bits that on reflection should have been omitted in accordance with site guidelines.

I must stress that Broadoak is not the benchmark for what goes on in all psychiatric wards. In Liverpool it is one up from Rathbone (minimum risk) and one down from Ashworth (high security) so don't think that it is all doom and gloom as I have no doubt that there are plenty of good psychiatric wards. I had the misfortune of ending up in one of the lesser ones and am just wondering if any other users want to share their experiences to prove that these places aren't all as bad as the one I was in.

THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18762
   Posted 6/23/2009 3:05 AM (GMT -7)   
hi thx 4 the topic rich.
 
me i chose seclusion 4 one-night. however i asked for the door not to be closed, luckily they kept it open. i was fairly unwell, no sleep for days, every med was tried, until a small dark drink was given to me. i asked what is it, chloryl hydrate, sorry not sure about the spelling. slept like a baby for fourteen hrs, woke up and said, can i have a smoke, yep, ready to go on the ward, yep, thus i went on the ward. in this factillity i have had 19-20 admissions, yes it is an acute public facility, i have seen a lot, thus in terms of being positive i'd rather let them slide. and yeah i have done some stupid @#$ too.
 
have not been hospitalised since sept 2006. i met the love of my life at my last admission, private psych facility. she passed on dec 6 of that year. sad i know, i made the hardest call of my love to her by setting her free. early last year.
 
all for now. jamie, my luv for her is greater than the stars of heaven. i miss you my georgia, sorry tearing up.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/23/2009 6:57 AM (GMT -7)   

Rich,

Thank you for posting your experience and I am sorry your facility was not the best.  I am glad you made it through and I will pray that you never have to return to the facility.

Great sharing Jamie.

Take care and I wish you peace,

Kitt


 

Kitt,
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Wasted-Potential
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 82
   Posted 6/23/2009 8:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for posting Jamie. I forgot all about the sleeping patterns so I'll share mine now:

For the first 10 days I was allowed to stay in a room by myself but I was on section 2 obs for half of that which meant I was being checked on every 15 minutes and having a line shone onto my face by the screws if I was sleeping. The beds were really uncomfortable and you found yourself waking up 4-6 times a night. The beds in the dorm rooms were even worse as the underside of the beds was a creaking piece of metal. If you moved a muscle the bed would creak and everyone else would wake up. The same happened if they moved as it would wake you up. One thing about being in dorm rooms is that you had to hide your stuff as there would always be one little scab who would be out to nick something of yours. I was lucky as the only thing of mine that went missing was my pillow and after that I issued a firm warning to them all what would happen if anything else went missing.

THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18762
   Posted 6/23/2009 9:24 PM (GMT -7)   
yep to that post. don't get me started on your clothes in the laundry!! or the food, or the nurses nor the constant slamming of feet, heads, fists in seclusion. torches, well i got use to them, as i just did not move or they would hover for a few more minutes. jamie. thx 4 your reply kitt. i have seen the differences in private and public, yet here in aust the margin to care is getting closer to the public. jamie.

Wasted-Potential
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 82
   Posted 6/24/2009 2:38 AM (GMT -7)   
The laundry wasn't too bad tbh. I didn't have to use it much cos I'd get clean underwear and tops brought in on visiting hours so I didn't have to do any washing except for towels which were ten a penny as they were all property of the unit.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/24/2009 7:21 AM (GMT -7)   

Hey Jamie,

Be gentle with those nurses, remember we are not all a bad lot. devil

Hugs

Kitt


THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18762
   Posted 6/24/2009 9:39 PM (GMT -7)   
no, not all. but i am an active consumer in this feild. seen some excellent examples of best practie care and i have seen the worst too. duty of care here in aus is a term that has neen thrown out with the toilet paper. it is about management-this is not effective service provision in my book!! nono to the excellent nurses, of wich are few and far between, my eternal thx, smilewinkgrin to the ones on power trips... nono ......well 2 many expletives!! hard when the environment is a dogs breakfast, and our goverment would rather waste our money on useless @#$%!!!! nono
sorry for the rant, just darn infruriated!!!!
 
our psych system is useless, our ministers, politicians are all puppets with their fingers stuck up their......... skull skull skull devil devil devil   jamie

THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18762
   Posted 6/26/2009 6:12 AM (GMT -7)   
i have just re-read my post. very angry in it, sorry, but it is a very important issue to me and others. jamie.
 
kitt, thx to all you xllent nurses. without them we would be really stuffed. i know they do the hard stuff!! cool jamie

THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18762
   Posted 6/28/2009 5:53 AM (GMT -7)   
yep, we are all needle and isolation too. and you may well be given a fair touch up as well. not happy at all about this in our psych facilities. jamie

Naps With Cats
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 6/28/2009 8:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey all,
 
I was in a Psych unit on a 5150 as suicidal - the 72 hour hold lasted only 1 night (thank GOD, that place was a nightmare - meany, cold and disciplinary nurses
w/out even trying to know anything about you, having to put all of your belongings (including shoes, socks - anything you could hurt yourself with) in a locked closet.
Nothing in the room but white (I hate white and always have).  My appointed Psychiatrist came in the next day and got me into what they call "the big house" (this was/is
in Pasadena, California, one of the places where all the famous people go for drug addiction).  So in the big house, the entire downstairs is dedicated to severely depressed
(that was me), and in the 3 weeks I was there, I was on suicide watch a few times, they call them 1-on-1's, where you have this shadow-nurse follow you wherever you are,
including the bathroom (oh, joy).  The upstairs was for the dual-diagnosed (drug addiction and depression or anxiety or one of those things).  (I personally thought they should keep the depressed people upstairs because the upstairs people would party all night).
 
Then there were the cottages that fit, I think, 2 people that were spread throughout the "arboretum" which is what this particular Psych Ward was in the middle of.  That's where the
famous people would stay. 
 
We all ate in the same place and the food was actually good stuff!
 
I was misdiagnosed with Bipolar (I have/had severe depression and anxiety only, was not bipolar), so I would sleep 16-18 hours at a time, was constipated all the time, didn't know what drugs I was taking, was on the 15 minute check, so they open the door all night every 15 minutes and, like someone else said, the lights blaring in your eyes.  (Thank God the girl next to me on the other side of the curtain "got out", so I took over her bed and it was much better.
 
It was actually a nice place, good food, excitement when we heard "Code White in the . . . [wherever]".  We'd all run to see what was going on 'cause Code White meant all available personnel, security, etc. to that part of the hospital.  We saw many things.  It was the place that supposedly one of the Eagles wrote "Hotel California", but I have no idea if that's true or not.  It's a very lovely place and it's scary because for part of the time I did not want to leave - ever.  I had 2 loving cats at home (neighbors watching them - they forgot to "watch" my expensive plants which were all dead when I got home), and this place was almost delusional.  I saw people go through the electrical thing they put on their heads - even walked in one of the rooms as they were hooking a girl I got to know up to have it done (they quickly kicked me out).  Anyone who went in there came out not knowing who you were, where they were - very weird and wouldn't recommend it after seeing 2 people I know go through it.
 
Another friend of mine (he was a famous drummer for a (yuck) famous metallic band, walked right out of the place in the evening and called his wife from the Target across the street and down a ways in his pajamas!  Visitors easily smuggled booze and drugs in to the upstairs people.
 
I hated the groups, I waited the whole time when doing my laundry, I always kept my portable CD player with me and never had anything stolen, not that it wouldn't have been very easy to do so in this place - open door policy.
 
We did have a group of pre-med students come through picking certain of us to "interview".  The girl I got, I'm not certain she had much life experience as she didn't seem to understand a thing I was saying; although with all the over-medication from a misdiagnosis I was on, that could be why.
 
When I got out, I went to the inpatient for, I think, 3 months.  When I was ready to leave there (hated, hated, hated it (it hurt my bunda sitting there all day and it was absolutely boring and I learned nothing from it), they had a meeting with me and wanted to put me back into the "big house".  I went straight to the director's office and said "I'm fine and it's time for me to leave here and get on with my life."  He signed me out and that was that.  Didn't even say good-bye to anyone, just had to get out because there was such a pull to stay it scared me.
 
As I said, my plants were all dead, I tried Vocational Rehab twice (first time I couldn't even read the computer screen so that was that.  The second time, I didn't have enough time left on the Long Term Disability to re-school/train for something else (dang it!)  I could have become a Vet Tech or something I wanted to do, too!  The Psychologist I saw after the hospital, well, that's a whole different story which I explained when I first came on here under "Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty" - there was another chapter.
 
I'm just glad to be where I am now.  An a/sexual cat lady with incontinence now!  lol  (Don't worry, I do rescue work and take very good care of my 9 cats, most of which are special needs.  Not one flea in my house, nope!) 
 
Anyways, That was just a bitty-bitty part of my experience at a Psych Ward.  Boy the stories I could tell!

THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18762
   Posted 6/28/2009 11:19 PM (GMT -7)   
thx for the post naps. same here in australia, the treatments, 101's etc. i have had e.c.t. myself, here it is done whilst your out to it. about 3 seconds to do it, about half an hour to set up. had six tratments in 2004. very effective when it kicked in 8 mnths later! thanx 4 sharing naps. jamie. dog lover. tongue

Naps With Cats
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 6/29/2009 5:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Jaimee,
 
That's interesting knowing that it does actually kick in (even though it's 6 month's later).  I just saw the immediate after-effects on the 2 people I had met at the hospital and there didn't seem to be an effect at that point other than complete amnesia.  Thanks for letting me know that!!  (Cat's rule, dog's drool!)  hehehehe  ;-)

THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18762
   Posted 6/29/2009 6:36 AM (GMT -7)   
hey naps, initially with the e.c.t. i was a zombie. was not eating, barely drank water, thus i was admitted. shrink said that he was extremely worried about me, he was right. yeah, groggy and memory is all over the place for a bit, but it all comes back. thx, my little dog is alike an oversized cat anyway. fawny colored pure breed pomeranian. jamie

Naps With Cats
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 6/29/2009 6:53 AM (GMT -7)   
LOL (about your dog being l ike a cat)!
 
Actually, I heard that line from an old office manager who had Yorkies, she wrote me and said
"Dog's rule, cat's drool" and I thought, "Ha!  You HAVE to be KIDDING me!")
 
Give your little Pom-Pom a huggie from me!  I love all animals and actually am a pet-sitter while looking for steady employment (and red-cross certified in dog & cat first aid).
 
Wow, barely drank water or ate, and I saw about the memory thing, but glad it came back.  When it came back, was it better?  Were you less depressed?  Or did the "old" memories come back?

Raniah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1190
   Posted 6/29/2009 7:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Naps,

I'm really glad you shared your experience here. It sounds like you did something really important for yourself, especially recognizing when it was time to leave. I think what you wrote will help a lot of people here.

I like what you and Jamie had to say about pets. My pets have been such an important part of my life, and during my darkest times, they really helped me to recover.

(((hugs))) to both of you.
 
 
Moderator, Depression Forum
 
“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”  ~Kahlil Gibran

 

 


Naps With Cats
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 6/29/2009 9:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Raniah,
 
Yeah, actually one of my cats (God rest her soul, she passed away from cancer a few years after the hospitalization from
an inoperable cancer that was connected to her vena-cava), well she is the one who saved my life.  She is the reason
I went to the hospital because I could not leave her.  (I actually went to the hospital, told them of my plans that were
well planned and I just needed to go and do it, and then after they talked about how much it would cost I freaked and
didn't want to stay there after all - guess I wasn't THAT suicidal), but they kept me on a 5150 and then for a total of 3.5
weeks because of what I had talked to the Assessor about (my plans for suicide).
 
So yeah, my cats are my loves of my life.  And God bless Pagode ("Pah-gaw-djee") in Heaven!
 
Julie O'

THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18762
   Posted 6/29/2009 11:10 PM (GMT -7)   
understand naps. jamie.
 
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