Lourdes Counseling Center

Name of Facility: Lourdes Counseling Center, Transitions unit

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Richland, WA, USA

Number of Stars: 3.5

Description of Experience: I’ve been to the short term residential center called transitions twice now. The first time I spent only a night there in early 2015 before getting so bored that I lied my way out. The second stay was very recently, April 2018, and I stayed there a total of 3 nights but most of 4 days. This review will be for my more recent and longer stay.

Pros:

The staff seem well-intentioned. I didn’t hear them say anything negative about the patients there who were more severe and had abnormal behaviors because of their mental state.

They do everything in their power to make sure you don’t get stuck with a huge bill. When I was admitted they took my insurance info but assured me that I wouldn’t see a bill for anything insurance didn’t cover. So far that has been true.

The food is not great but decent. They have decaf coffee and tea available at all times. Snack times are scheduled between meals and the structure can be helpful.

The rooms! There are 13 rooms on the ward and each one has it’s own bathroom. You have your own room and the bed is on the small side but comfortable. There’s a big window with adjustable blinds so you can see the sky.

There’s a tiny courtyard that is available at all times during the day to patients. You can go outside whenever you want to. It has a little bit of grass as well as a sidewalk. A few patients spent most of their time walking in circles out there just to have some movement.

They have 2 stationary bikes for exercise.

The groups add structure to the day.

You’re allowed visitors any time during the day other than during group times.

The staff is helpful when you have questions and they work hard to be friendly.

The hospital that runs this program is very Catholic but I didn’t feel that religion was a main priority for the counselors unless the patient specified that they were religious.

Cons:

The staff seems to really want to help, but some of them don’t seem to have enough training to help more severe cases or do much past giving really entry level “advice”.

I told them during admissions that I have a history with eating disorders and there was no monitoring [related to that] while there.

The whole first night I was there wasn’t very good. I got there on a Saturday and weekends are a bit less structured than week days. I didn’t feel cared for and didn’t really know what was expected or planned because no one told me anything. I felt like I was in a fish bowl, under observation but not really able to connect with the world. When I asked one of the head counselors a question he looked at me like my question was ridiculous. I only asked if I could have a picture to color because they hadn’t given me my belongings at that point and I had been there for 3 hours with nothing to occupy me.

They seemed to forget about giving me my belongings after they were looked through. When I finally asked if someone could get me a book a nurse exclaimed “oh! Your stuff!” and handed me a laundry basket full of my belongings which had been just sitting behind the desk for at least an hour.

The discharge process can take days. I asked about being discharged very gently and they said they would need to wait to find out if I was eligible until the nurse who was able to prescribe meds was there because I needed a refill of a med I had already been on for over a year but they weren’t sure if she would be okay writing me a prescription, even a refill, without monitoring me for a couple of days. When that nurse was in the next day I asked multiple nurses and counselors throughout the day to make sure I was on her list to be seen and the last person I asked informed me she had just left for the day and I had to wait.

There’s no separation between people who are mostly there as a stage of detox and people who are there to stabilize their mental health.

Patients talk freely and loudly about their lives and struggles and while I see the benefit this may have, it is absolutely counterproductive in many cases. Not to mention how hearing about everyone else’s trauma brings up my own.

You have to have your wristband scanned to receive medication but they forgot to give me one until my second day there. No one noticed until they tried to give me a medicine and the nurse asked why I didn’t have a bracelet.

They talk about exercise as if it is the cure to end all cures. This can be harmful.

You’re allowed comfortable clothes, no shoes, no strings. They pat you down on arrival but don’t make you take any major clothing items off unless they’re seen as unsafe. No electronic devices of any kind are allowed on the ward.

Medication management is decent but could use some work. No smoking is allowed but they offer nicorette gum and nicotine patches (but those have to be prescribed).

The things you bring with you are what you have while there. My partner tried to bring me a stuffed animal when he visited one day and they didn’t allow me to have it. From what I gathered, they don’t allow any outside items brought in after admission.

Overall

Overall I really do think the intentions of this unit are good, they just need some work.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Short-term residential

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Nonbinary, pansexual, anxiety, ptsd, depression, bulimia. I don’t go by my legal name. After I pointed this out most staff tried to adjust.

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2015, 2018

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