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

Piney Ridge Center

Name of Hospital: Piney Ridge Center

City, State/Province, Country: Waynesville, MO, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: Truly horrific place. I was sent there against my will 4 years ago for a suicide attempt, only now am I able to talk about it. I had been staying at a local temporary inpatient clinic before then, which had been helping tremendously. However, being sent here reversed that.

This is a prison, there is little to no therapy, and they treat you like a criminal for having depression. I walked in and there was no flooring. They were doing major renovations WHILE people were living in the space. The subfloor was exposed, glue sticking to your feet with every step. My only pair of shoes was destroyed after a few days, my only pair of socks caked in glue.

You are forced to walk with the other patients in a prison style fashion, walking in a straight line along the wall, eyes forward, hands behind your back. When you are first admitted, you are stripped down to nothing, everything removed from your body, and then they look you over, violating your privacy and taking everything from you within your first 20 minutes. You are not a human being here.

60% of the staff are sadistic, while the others may genuinely mean well, but still have to follow uncaring rules. I have severe asthma and yet they would try to force me to run around in a mildew/mould covered gym without my inhaler. I also was celiac and allergic to tree nuts, yet they somehow didn’t care to obtain my medical records, despite my repeated attempts to inform them of this. So there I am after 16 days, physically ill, down 40 or so lbs.

The staff repeatedly tried to force me into this thing called “sudsies” or something similar, where you have to show your fully naked body to them before you take a shower to prove you have soap on you. Yeah, like that’s therapeutic. Amongst my being ill, one of the nurses would still ignore me and absolutely did not care that I wasn’t retaining any nutrition whatsoever from the food they offered. The other younger nurse however cared but could only offer pepto for me expelling the contents of my stomach every time I went to the bathroom. I saw one patient beat the crap out of another and the staff reacted by yelling at the victim to not get up or move afterward while trying to figure out what to do with the other.

So after insurance stopped paying for me to stay there, I opted to go back with my abusive parents/situation than stay here a week longer, to go back to the people who caused me to not want to live anymore. If you actually love someone, you will avoid submitting them to this place. They are only nice when you leave.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Gender, sexuality

Year(s): 2013

Cayuga Medical Center

Name of Hospital: Cayuga Medical Center

City, State/Province, Country: Ithaca, New York, United States of America

Number of Stars: 3

Comment: My stay at Cayuga Medical was not long at all, in fact it was only a week, but that week has definitely left a scar. That’s not saying it was all bad considering, just a good majority of it.

First of all, the first thing they let me know was if I was compliant I would be let go much faster. This was during intake where I still had an option to leave since I had admitted myself. Before even getting into the ward the hospital was treating me as if I was already admitted even though I hadn’t even seen or talked to a therapist/psychologist/etc. who would be able to assess me.

Once admitted they told me I had to be put down as a forced intake due to insurance purposes. I understood, but then they had an officer come with us and berated me when I started shaking due to fear.

While in the ward I had to routinely explain my gender and pronouns to the same staff day after day. They refused to listen to my requests for they/them pronouns and berated me for refusing to talk about gender and sexuality as it pertains to my mental illness (seeing as it was a whole different facet of myself that didn’t correlate to my needing to be there now I had no desire to keep teaching them).

During my stay I had a roommate who would scream and cuss at night. I couldn’t handle that, partially due to past abuse as well as general anxiety. Their solution was to put me in a small room behind the nurses station on a gym mat for the night.

If I didn’t interact much during groups they would say I would be here for longer.
They forced me into monitoring my blood sugar levels more so than I usually was (5 times a day versus my twice daily) , since I am terrified of needles this was not okay to force onto me. When they started some of the nurses poked in the wrong spot of the finger leaving me with sore spots.

A nurse almost gave me lithium when I had not even gotten to see a doctor about medication. They questioned me when I said I wasn’t taking any lithium. I was and am usually conscience and aware enough to know what medications I should be taking.
Overall, most of the staff was uninviting and treated us like children who misbehaved enough to get sent to detention. The only redeeming one was a man who was very big and tall, seemed very imposing, but worked with us on feeling safe and secure and even told my mother that it was okay for me to cry when she told me to stop crying. He was willing to be a physically strong presence when I felt scared. He was nice.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Genderqueer, bisexual, autistic, and diabetic

Arabella House

Name of Hospital: Arabella House

City, State/Province, Country: Naperville, Illinois, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: The groups at Arabella House are absolutely horrifying. On my first day there, the therapist immediately pressured me to share intimate details about my trauma. when I didn’t, they told me that I would need to toughen up & that the next day in group I better talk about it. Every single day I tried so hard to find the courage to talk about my trauma in the kind of detail the other patients did. Everyday, I couldn’t do it. I didn’t trust anyone there, it didn’t feel safe.

The therapists got more and more angry with me every day. They started to yell at me. They would tell me, “you’re not trying.” And “if you’re not going to care about your recovery, you will have to leave.” I constantly told them and showed them how hard I was trying. They based my progress off of how much I shared in group. Nothing, in their eyes. Everyday I would cry and no one cared.

I felt very left out, and one day I decided to voice that. All the patients became personally offended, and yelled at me. The therapist yelled at me, told me I was being immature. I cried alone in the bathroom for hours. They didn’t care.

They made me see a trauma therapist. He was a man and we had therapy in the basement. When I told him I was scared of him bc basements are triggering and men are too, he yelled at me and said I was being a baby. Literally. He said, “stop being such a baby.” I swore to myself every time I met with him that I would open up bc every time I didn’t he would yell at me and tell me I was never going to get better. But I would get scared and go mute. One day he told me I was a hopeless lost cause and I was gonna die traumatized and never heal. I freaked out, slammed the door to my room & sobbed. No one cared. Then they yelled at me for being upset. Said it was my fault and that I wasn’t trying.

What else? They made me have family sessions with my abusive family. The therapist constantly took my mom’s side. She told me I was being irrational. That my horribly abusive mother does so much for me and that I’m ungrateful. Etc.

Eventually, they decided that there was something wrong with me and they made me get some psych eval. Tests came back & said I was psychotic. I was livid. after they diagnosed me with psychosis, it was my label. Everything I said was met with, “that’s the psychosis talking.” It made no sense & was extremely inaccurate.

after this hell, I was left an extremely suicidal mess. I told them I was suicidal and afraid. They said, “you can leave whenever you want to.” I said ???? They said “you aren’t trying. You can leave. We don’t want you here if you’re not trying.” They almost discharged me to my death. I decided to stay. Worst choice ever.

The night staff member sprayed holy water on us while we slept.

I could go on. Those things are only the tiniest parts of the hell that was Arabella house. It was an extremely traumatizing environment. I was there for my eating disorder and I left with a whole new set of problems.

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

Year(s) : 2014

Brookside at Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital

Name of Hospital: Brookside (at Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital)

City, State/Province, Country: Portland, OR, USA

Number of Stars: 5

Comment: Residential mental health treatment program. Most rooms are private, the staff spends time with the clients, nurses are kind and responsive, most staff are friendly and kind, there are groups and activities in addition to therapy, medication management, and other forms of treatment.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: LGBT

Cedar Ridge

Name of Hospital: Cedar Ridge

City, State/Province, Country: Oklahoma City, OK, USA.

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: I live about 3 hours from this hospital but due to the severity (suicide attempt) of my situation, my mom & I made an executive decision to drive me there. I was only supposed to be in a 48 hour crisis hold but, without my mother’s consent, they put my in a residential area instead & planned to keep me for over a month even though all the doctors there said I wasn’t their ‘typical patient’ & that i wasn’t ‘as bad’ as most of the patients they get.

All of the nurses, doctors, etc. were EXTREMELY rude & absolutely jaded. I passed out due to stress my first day & the main nurse I saw the most of told me I was stupid & that I was faking it. During my stay I got called multiple names from the nurses, got pulled into lots of unnecessary drama BECAUSE of the nurses. I was there to GET BETTER, & honestly I believe if it were just me & all the other kids, no nurses, I might’ve left feeling better but I didn’t.

We had to exercise every day because it was apart of our ‘treatment plan’ which is all fine & good, but about a week in, I screwed up my ankle & it was VISIBLY hurt (bruising & swelling) & I was told by the main nurse that if I didn’t run the almost 2 miles every day despite my injury, I would get my pass (it’s like furlough) taken from me. I physically COULD NOT run so I got a privilege taken from me when it was confirmed by other nurses & even the doctor that there was definitely something wrong with my ankle. (I was in a brace for A MONTH after leaving).

There was a mentally disabled girl on my hall that the nurses called r*tarded & made fun of for the way she talked/dressed. She was basically made into a HUGE joke.

We had this thing called 10-foot which was basically if you acted up or did anything the nurses didn’t like, you would be completely isolated (which is obviously an issue amongst mentally ill people so ?? why would they think that was okay is beyond me) from everyone & put in a chair feet away from every else. you couldn’t talk to anyone or eat next to anyone (we also had to be completely silent during meals like prisoners) & if you disobeyed the rules, you were punished even harsher.

They changed my medicine without consulting my mom & due to our location, my mom couldn’t come get me for quite awhile (they called my mom after my 48 hours & said I wanted to be there a few more days which basically lost me my ride. I never said that.) They shamed her for taking me out AMA & wouldn’t give me my medicine /because/ of being taken out AMA so I had to make an expensive shrink appointment just to get my medicine THEY prescribed to me. This is honestly one of the worst 4 weeks I ever had to experience & I STILL have nightmares about it.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: I am a transgender male & I was told by the nurses that I had to wear a bra instead of my binder (despite it being medical approved; i wore it anyways) & they refused to use my preferred named (which is my actual middle name that my mom put down on my ‘preferred name’ on the application thing) & they even used disgusting slurs (tr*nny mostly) towards me & made a lot of jokes about me.