Providence St. Vincent

Name of Hospital: Providence St. Vincent (PHP Eating Disorder)

City, State/Province, Country: Portland, Oregon, United States of America

Number of Stars: 3

Comment: This program is fine if you are a young able-bodied straight cis woman who has a restrictive type ED with no other diagnoses and good insurance. Everyone else is going to have a harder time.

My biggest struggle was that the staff were not prepared to deal with people who had PTSD (bc I have PTSD, but other diagnoses like BPD were also poorly handled) in addition to an ED, which was troubling given that nearly everyone there had some form of trauma/multiple diagnoses. There were days when I was clearly dissociated+having immersive flashbacks to the point of not responding and I would be told to drive myself home because they were unable/unwilling to deal with me in such a state. I understand it can be difficult but I feel that their “solution” was potentially dangerous.

Insurance standards came up a lot; I had a friend on OHP who would’ve been kicked out (potentially unable to enter treatment again) if she used a meal supplement which was stressful and certainly not therapeutic.

They had a heavy focus on getting food into you, which makes sense, but did not have adequate treatment for people who purged, binged, or had an exercise addiction. For instance, you were released immediately after dinner, which is a difficult time for people who purge. Their IOP program was inflexible and required certain hours regardless of whether those were meals/times that you needed support or if you needed to work. There was supposedly a bathroom buddy system which I ignored completely with little difficulty.

Activities were inane but mostly harmless. There were occasional fatphobic attitudes/comments from the staff which was definitely not good. Food was fine. Everything has very strong Catholic/Christian overtones which I found oppressive (blessing before each meal etc.) but the dress code was especially annoying—wasn’t enforced consistently, it sucked to not be able to show your shoulders in 100+ heat, had a general body-shaming feel. Highly feminine/feminized view of causes for ED’s which was unhelpful for me; little acknowledgement of the way shame due to marginalization leads to ED’s at a higher rate. Extremely outdated education materials.

Staff meant well in general, did not apologize well, were very overworked, a little too fond of ultimatums/threats. Seeing your therapist once a week was lucky, even in emergencies. There’s two psychiatrists, the adult one is…fine but not good, the child one is the best psychiatrist I have ever met. Mobility devices were tolerated at best, area is not particularly wheelchair accessible.

All staff was white straight and cis, this was reflected in the treatment (even though patients were 40% non-white, 50-60% non-straight, and usually 10% or more non-cis, none of these identities were really acknowledged as having an effect on ED/treatment). I was there for 3 months and had nothing better to do so I took some stats.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Nonbinary+queer, neither was respected.

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