Abbott Northwestern

Name of Hospital: Abbott Northwestern

City, State/Province, Country: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Number of Stars: 4

Comment: I spent some time in both the partial and inpatient programs here and overall was there for almost a month. I was in the Child and Adolescent general psychiatric unit. The ward is kept clean and well-maintained. The food is pretty good – you get these little paper menus and circle which items you want. The best items on the menu are pizza, macaroni, sandwiches and burgers – which, believe me, get pretty old after awhile! However, there’s also a lot of decent sides and desserts. For awhile I basically lived on juice.

Many of the staff were kind and understanding, and seemed generally interested in the well-being of the patients. Unfortunately, some of the staff were rude, condescending, snarky, and made what felt like very inappropriate comments. For example, I overhead one woman talking to a teenage girl about how disgusting she thought casual sex was, and another make a comment about how “stupid people shouldn’t be allowed to breed.” Some made fun of me directly for not smiling or participating in activities – felt very strange.

My psychiatrist was excellent and made a real effort to listen to my feelings and concerns. She was quick to take me off medication that I said was not helping. I did, at one point read a psych report and was very upset by the way she described my appearance as sloppy and disheveled and essentially blamed my gender non-conformity on depression. From listening to others experiences, though, this is a widespread problem in psychiatry, and is really my only complaint.

The day was extremely scheduled, which I didn’t like since I mostly wanted to stay in bed all day. We had group therapy every day which was very helpful, but most other activities felt either like a waste of time, silly, or redundant. A lot of it was basic inspiration crap about being thankful for being alive, or games that felt very initializing – while most of the people in the ward are teenagers, they seemed designed for children much younger and were boring and annoying. I spent most of my time in these groups writing or drawing. There were more game groups in the evenings as well as movies on weekends.

A lot of staff seemed perplexed about my lack of participation, as if they didn’t understand why a person with severe depression wouldn’t be interested in activities. Some of them made me feel like I must be the most depressed person in the world, which certainly didn’t help me feel better. Most of these groups were focused on depression, anxiety and self-esteem. These were my main issues, so this wasn’t necessarily bad for me, but for people there for other mental health issues I imagine it felt even more unhelpful than it did for me.

There were visiting hours every evening and from 12-8 on weekends. If you weren’t considered high-risk, your psychiatrist could grant you “hospital privileges” and you could leave the ward with your parents or for certain activities with staff. If a patient had a meltdown or needed to be restrained, the ward was put on lockdown so their privacy was respected as much as possible. Overall, while I do have complaints about this place, it is definitely on the higher end as far as psych wards go. If you are 18 or under and in the Twin Cities Metro Area, I would definitely recommend Abbott as the hospital you want to stay in.

Type of program (i.e. day program, inpatient): Partial/Inpatient

One thought on “Abbott Northwestern

  1. Thank you for your review. I am very sorry you had to endure this behavior from the staff there. There is no excuse for that. You have done a fantastic job of giVing an unbiased review despite their behavior!

    My child was in the outpatient program at abbott. We have had some serious concerns about the unit and staff there. Things are very disconnected, staff are not really aware what is going on with patients or each other. Patient care suffers because of the lack of continuity, disrespect of the patient and their families and, we felt, inadequately trained staff, including the therapists. The psychiatrist was the only one who had somewhat of an idea of what was going on with my child and our family.

    There are much better programs in minnesota-amber wing, Claras house, prairiecare even.

    I would never recommend the mental health facilities at abbott northwestern to anyone I know. We went there under the assumption it was an amazing facility because of the things we have heard about their heart center. We are so sad to have found out how truly awful it is.


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