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Going to Hospital

Psych wards in hospitals have a really bad rep because of media. This thread is intended to dispel some of the myths and rumours,share personal stories, as well as give some info on how to access hospital care. 

 

Just a heads up, this thread might be a bit triggering for some. 

 

My hospital story is when police found 16 year old me at about 3am wandering the streets. They were worried for my safety, so they took me to hospital. This would be considered involutary (I think). I have to wait about four hours for a psychiatrist to arrive so I could be evaluated. I, personally, did not like the psychiatrist (he was big and angry and had a really strong russian accent) so I ended up arguing with him for some time, and he deemed me fit to go home. 

So with this, because I was sixteen and obviously upset, the police deemed that I was unable to make good decisions by myself. In these kinds of cases, it might lead to involuntary admission. This is usually in very extreme cases, and to my knowledge, usually quite uncommon. I was discharged and my parents were told to keep an eye on me and make sure I didn't go near sharp things. 

 

My other story is when an ex girlfriend was admitted, and I visited her pretty much daily. The staff are very friendly, and from what I saw, the ward was more like a relaxing place aimed at being nonstressful, so to optimise people's getting better. The people in there were very kind, no one was strapped down or in straightjackets or anything like you see on the movies. Most of the few people I met there had been voluntarily admitted. The hospital had lots of things like colouring (so many pencils!!) and a mindfulness room, outside areas, TV and DVDs. Patients get their own room, but from what I saw most preferred to be in the common areas. Visitors were encouraged, and you were allowed to bring things in like snacks and things from home, just nothing dangerous, and wire things (like phone chargers) had to be kept with the staff. 

 

As time progresses when you're in the ward, they also allowed you escorted leave, starting with an hour or two, and then progressing up to a couple of days. The psychologists were very helpful, and while for my girlfriend it was a very understimulating environment, it also allowed her a lot of time to reflect, and in this time I helped her come up with things she could do when she gets out - making lists of people who will support her if shes having a mental health crisis, people who she can stay with, etc. Unfortunately she broke up with me a few days after she got out, so I am not sure on what the outpatient care is like. From my knowledge they assign a team of people to you, someone will come and check up on you at home to make sure everything is okay, but on this I'm unsure. 

 

So yeah! tl;dr, hospitals are not scary at all to be in! What is everyone else's experience? Does anyone have some tips, advice, or stories? 

Re: Going to Hospital

Hey there everyone!

 

(FYI this is a long and copied response from a builders thread so apologies in advance :\ )

 

From my own personal experience, I can say that hospitals are never as bad as you think! I am pleased to be able to share my experience and thoughts on hospital because I know I would have loved a heads up before I went in.

Firstly, if you can, it is better to be a voluntary patient. The main legal difference is that you sign a consent form that states you will be co operative and are committed to trying to get better. If you are involuntary, the hospital may place you on the Mental Health Act 2007 which means that you have no choice but to stay there and without leave. By being involuntary, you miss out on little perks like being allowd to visit the park or something whilst you are in hospital. However, if you are involuntary, know that you can switch to voluntary at any stage.

Initially, I was quite nervous and really had no idea what to expect. I was due to go to an adolescence Mental Health Unit which is very different to a normal hospital. It's main purpose revolves around keeping the patient safe. (Note that the rules and experiences are very different in other units and wards)
There are lovely nurses that help you get settled in and they are available 24/7. You are assigned a key nurse that is your primary carer when they are on shift. Each day, the nurses will have a brief discussion with you about your day and your current mood etc. You are also assigned with a psychologist or social worker and a psychiatrist. These peple are your team that you will frequently see over the course of your stay. You will usually see your psychologist and/or psychiatrist every day. Their aim is to keep you safe and work out how best to intergrate you back into the community. Depending on your mental health etc. will determine your length of stay. The estimated average stay is 3-10 days. However, do not be disheartened if your stay is longer. (I once stayed for 3 months!) They always make sure that you are ready and capable to go before discharging you. This may include sending you to school a few days a week from the hospital and reviewing it each day. They also set you up with a community team in your local area that will continue therapy with you for as long as you need it and they will ensure your transition back to daily life is as smooth as possible.
There is a set schedule in the Unit that includes the expectation that all patients attend groups as part of their signed voluntary papers to committting to getting well. (It is also strongly advised to involuntary patients and to be honest, you would be silly not to go). These groups are actually quite fun and entertaining and very helful. Some groups include coping skills, relaxation, learning centre (where people can catch up on school work with qualified teachers to help), art, baking groups and fitness groups. All of these groups, whilst somewhat tedious at times (after 3 months), are extremely informative and helpful. They are a lot of fun too! Especially baking things like brownies and going to the park for some fresh air. It definitely helps pass the time and keep you healthy and engaged. Everyone makes it as comfortable as possible for you so patients can be in the best environment to get well.

Some info that might be useful to know before going includes;
- As it is an adolescents Unit, your parents will be included in the recovery process. (The age is 14-17yo. Of course this would not apply to older patients as they would be refered to an adult Unit with Privacy Rights. Patients that are younger may also be allowed on exceptions)
- At this particular unit, you cannot wear any clothing with drawstrings, laces etc. But feel free to bring earphones and ipods without a camera! YAY!
- The food quality has actually improved so much and there is usually morning and afternoon tea provided, along with 3 set meals. Some snack food may include flavoured milk, pikelets, cheese and biscuits or cakes.
- You can bring your own snacks like chips, chocolate and lollies! Bring it all! The nurses love it too! Smiley Happy 
- You can request to have leave from the hospital where you can go home or out with your guardian for a set time depending what your psychologist thinks. You can also work your way up to over-night or extended leave.
- Friends and family can call the unit at any time and visit in the afternoons.
- Think of your time in hospital as a time to really reflect and recover properly rather than a fallback. Sometimes it takes a break from your daily life to help set things back on track.

Let me know if there are any questions about anything or you want more specific detatils.
The above is really a brief guide as to what you can expect and of course things vary from place to place.

 

Hope this provides you with a bit of a heads up on what to expect. Smiley Happy 

Re: Going to Hospital

I have a lot of experience with being both a voluntary and involuntary patient and also in dealing with the emergency department.

Going to hospital for self harm was really scary, but most of the Dr's I've encountered have been really nice about it and professional. After dealing with self harm medically they usually ask if you want to see mental health team. One good thing to remember is that just because it's self inflicted doesn't mean it doesn't deserve to be treated with respect, if you get treated poorly report it because you deserve better.


Being an inpatient on a psych ward I've learnt a few things.
In tassie your allowed your phones and other media devices which I'm grateful for, headphones are allowed at the discretion of the nurses and however in HDU you can't have anything.
In Tasmania you can get admitted under the mental health act 2013 where you become an involuntary patient. There are 2 kinds of orders, assessment and treatment orders. Treatment orders can continue after leaving hospital and are managed through the community. I've been involuntary before and it's hard and scary, you can't leave hospital unless given leave from the Dr's. As an involuntary patient you feel like your rights are taken away but it's done for your safety and welfare.

Some of the stuff done in hospital includes art therapy, yoga, Thai chi, and morning meetings.

If you have any questions I'm happy to answer them Smiley Happy
===========================
Trying to make my misery
just a piece of my history
A little less victim a little more victory
-Icon for Hire

Re: Going to Hospital

@redhead Thanks so much for that insightful post, I had no idea they had things like yoga! That's actually awesome.