University of Michigan Adolescent Ward

Name of Hospital: U of M Adolescent Ward

City, State/Province, Country: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Number of Stars: 4.5

Comment: I’ve stayed in the University of Michigan Adolescent Psych Ward over seven times from the age of 14 to now (17). The waiting room is a really long wait (the pamphlets say it can take up to 24 hours to get admitted) and there are usually several drunk people in it. The staff is very kind for the most part. When you get up to the ward, you’ll be strip searched but you only have to tug the waistline of your underwear instead of taking them off. They check for tattoos, piercings, scars/cuts, and bruises.

The old ward was very dark, cramped, and honestly claustrophobic but they switched wards in February 2016. The new space is huge and open, with lots of windows. It feels a lot less restricting being there. They provide excellent wound care. The meals are actually very decent, but some items are better than others. Medicine is delivered in an orderly fashion, and they are very on top of it.

The rooms are all single rooms that have huge windows, private bathrooms, and a wall that is dry erase marker safe!! The staff is more than happy to give you a bunch of colors so you can write or draw all over the wall! The showers are decent too.

The staff feels well equipped to deal with all sorts of patient needs. I was open with the nurses in the emergency waiting room, so when I got upstairs to the ward, my room’s label had my preferred name on it. My wristband still had my legal name. The staff did try very hard to get my pronouns right (they/them) and there were no slip-ups with my name.

The schedule is rather strict there, you have meals and groups planned every day. The week days are usually consumed with 1 1/2 hours of school time but on the weekends they have fun groups such as bringing in a therapy dog. They didn’t actually do that many art groups but drawing and writing is very encouraged anyway.

They already have a lot of good tactics in place for breakdowns. When I had a breakdown, they basically sat me alone in the “bubble room” which had a wall that was filled with water, and when turned on the entire thing bubbled like an aquarium. But they know how to deal with lots of people! Like during one of the stays, I made friends with an autistic kid and when he started breaking down, they let him into the gym to throw balls at the wall to calm down. Staff generally goes above and beyond to help kids.

The complaints that I did have were mainly about groups. While a lot of them didn’t really pertain to me, the problem was that all groups are required. Sometimes you can get away with missing one group every few days but if you do miss group, the staff will turn up at your door more often to make sure that you’re going. The other thing that was a problem is that the doctors and nurses don’t really know how to treat dissociative identity patients, even though I’m formally diagnosed. Probably because d.i.d isn’t usually diagnosed or even recognized in minors.

All together, the stays at the U of M have helped me work through some stuff as well as keep me safe from harming myself or others. Recovery is a long road but I really appreciate the help I’ve gotten from the U of M.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: dissociative identity, transgender (neutrois), psychotic, sensory processing disorder, selective mutism, minor

Year(s) : 2014-2016

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