Name of Hospital: Ridgeview Institute
City, State/Province, Country: Smyrna, Georgia, USA
Number of Stars: 2.5
Comment: I have never stayed in any other hospital, so I don’t know much about it compared to others. However, my stays went over relatively smoothly. They make you sleep in the hallway the first night and put you on suicide precautions, no matter why you’re there, and they keep making you sleep in the hallway until you get off suicide precautions. They also have 15 and 30 minute checks and only let you eat in the cafeteria if you’re on a certain check (I can’t remember if it’s 15 or 30) or if you’re outpatient. They also have an intensive outpatient program for people whose insurance won’t pay for outpatient therapy. It is shorter, but they basically do the same thing. The food is better than school food, but some people don’t like it.
They pretty much ignore sexual preference when pairing you with a roommate, even though they ask you about it in the paperwork. I don’t know how they treat transgender people, but I don’t think they would accommodate them, based purely on the location. They pair you with a case manager well, in my experience, based on why you’re there.
However, they don’t seem to know how to treat psychotic patients. The second time I was inpatient, there was a wasp nest in my room. But I had just come out of a psychotic episode, so the nurses didn’t give my complaints any validity at all. They never even went in the room to set my mind at ease. They disregarded it completely until I came out of my room with a wasp on my shoulder, and everyone could see it. They did move me out of the room, but they never apologized.
The psychiatrist they put me with is a bit condescending, but he knows what he’s doing. I trust most of the staff at the facility, but there are a few who come in with bad attitudes and don’t give you as much one-on-one attention as you need. It’s difficult to talk to some staff members one-on-one because everyone there is always busy. And they do have metal blinds, which one person I met there used to self-harm. Plus, they make you do safety checks where you have to strip down to your underwear and let them search your clothes if you report self-harm. That makes me feel safe, but it also makes me feel like I have no privacy.
They also have you do drug tests and draw blood each time you’re admitted, whether it’s inpatient or outpatient. I’m not sure if other facilities make you do that. But I am very intensely scared of needles. They allowed me to lie down when drawing my blood and doing the TB test, but I had an anxiety attack before having blood drawn there once, and I guess the nurse next to me just wasn’t paying attention, but at the time it seemed like she didn’t care. Maybe it was a little bit of both.
The most helpful thing they do, therapy-wise, is process group, which is basically where you meet in a group with people there for similar reasons and discuss whatever is bothering you. They also have DBT groups and team-building sessions (which I don’t understand the point of- since you aren’t really supposed to become friends with the people there) and sometimes they do music therapy groups. But everyone I’ve talked to there seems to think that process group is the most helpful therapy group there. The DBT groups are pretty repetitive, especially if you are there for a long period of time. They teach you things you could really just learn online for much less money. The lobby is also much cleaner than the facility. There are a lot of cobwebs in the actual ward, but the lobby has someone wiping down the chairs every time a person stands up.
Overall, it’s okay, but I didn’t learn much. It’s really only good for if you’re in a major crisis. The outpatient therapy isn’t very helpful.
Type of program (i.e. day program, inpatient): I’ve been inpatient there twice and outpatient three times.
Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: 15-17, female, bisexual, bipolar disorder (and psychosis), anxiety