Sinai Hospital

Name of Facility: Sinai Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Baltimore, MD, USA

Number of Stars: 2.5

Description of Experience: It was a pretty run of the mill ward. I was in for severe anxiety leading to suicidal distress and a voluntary admit. The emergency department was not very great; they forgot to get my insurance information and when they moved me to the transitional unit they took all my possessions until I was on the ward. Fortunately, I was more prepared than the other time I’d been in an ED and the removal of all possessions happened, but it still sucked.

They let you wear your own clothes on the ward (except I’m assuming stuff like bras with wires). They noticed and did something about my anxiety, which was good, it was a medication I could take as needed (they wouldn’t give me the stuff like Ativan, but something called Vistaril). They didn’t count not going to the groups because I was down and out with bronchitis against me.

After three days with no caffeine I was a bit grumpy with the nurse assigned to me and got a lecture on how if I didn’t control my behavior I’d have to stay longer. I perceived this as coercion and pushed back to ask her “Are you coercing me?” which she seemed offended by. (It was coercion and an exercise of control).

Another time (my second night) I was told you could only make one long-distance call per visit, which I had already made one and was told I could not by a psych specialist or admin assistant. I went back and began sobbing hysterically in my room because my friends are my safety net. It took them at least 10 minutes to bother to go see if I was okay and offer me anything for my anxiety. Most of the nurses/psych specialists besides that one would still let you make as many long distance calls as you wanted. It was just that one who was a stickler to the rule.

They made use of the seclusion rooms a couple of times while I was there. One was an elderly woman and I overheard the nurse telling the security guards the reason she was in there was “because she attacked me, the dumb bitch.” I told another nurse about that statement because it made me really uncomfortable and worried about the woman in the room. Another was a younger woman who apparently broke the door of her room.

They didn’t bother to do anything about the older man who asked me to be his girlfriend and laughed it off because he did it to everyone. I finally had to tell him off myself and he didn’t speak to me again, which was a relief.

There were security cameras everywhere, including in your room. There was basically no privacy – I resorted to changing in the bathroom, which sometimes the toilet was clogged because for some reason the ward always seemed out of toilet paper. The food was chronically late. One time it was almost 2 hours late for breakfast. It wasn’t that great but vaguely edible, and I saw at least one other patient receiving kosher meals – Sinai is a Jewish-affiliated hospital. So I would extrapolate that they at least respect dietary preferences and restrictions.

I didn’t see any preferential treatment based on race, but I could have missed it – I’m white, and a lot of the patients were Black. It definitely seemed at least preferential toward the less “complex” and the “easier” patients like me.

They had a hard time getting my meds sorted out at first, almost until I was about ready to leave, which was a bit ridiculous. Once I was stabilized (and done sleeping off my bronchitis), I was ridiculously bored and finished most of my books I was reading. There were basically a few board games and puzzles, magazines, a TV, and groups, though I can’t speak to the therapy groups as a way to pass time or their therapeutic value.

I didn’t get a whole lot of a discharge planning, either. I wasn’t helped to connect with resources in my area at all except for a print-out of some Jewish social service agencies.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Nonbinary (did not disclose), queer, Autistic, Jewish conversion student

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

The Brook DuPont

Name of Hospital: The Brook DuPont

City, State/Province, Country: Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Number of Stars: 2.5

Comment: Was admitted on a Friday night and had my vitals checked and given socks. The clothes I came in wearing were filthy and was forced to wear them for 2 days straight until my parents could visit and bring me clothes. They only allowed visits on Sundays and Wednesdays for an hour & a half if the patient gave the visitor their id number beforehand.

I had started my period during the day of admittance but when I asked for a sanitary product I was told I had to wait until an employee with keys came back. The employee made a crude joke about me being on my period. And that same employee made a masturbation joke when I asked if they offered lotion on a different day.

Smokers were allowed to go into a fenced in yard for a 10 minute smoke break 3 times a day, and those were the only times patients could go outside. We could leave the hall for meals, art therapy, and the gymnasium (which was geared towards the children patients instead of the adults).

The facility only offered various group therapies, all of which promoted Christianity.
I made some friends there which was nice, but the staff felt hostile at times.  There was always tension in the air because we could hear other wards screaming and hitting the walls throughout the day and night. One night, I was almost put in the quiet room. I think they had a different name for it though. It was a soft room with a bed and a camera. The only reason I wasn’t put there was because a patient from the children’s ward was already there.

One overnight staff worker was very kind. She gave me seek & finds to do while she filled out paperwork and in between her checks (every fifteen minutes they had to do a headcount).

The only time I got to speak with someone 1 on 1 was with my assigned psychiatrist for a few minutes every other day. my original medicine was doubled, and a new medicine added. I was not told what the new medicine was or what it did until I asked a nurse what I was taking after a few days.

I was never given any resources for life afterwards so I relapsed a few months later, only without hospitalization that time.  This was my first time as an inpatient, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it seems that my experience was typical based on what I have heard.

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

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

Year(s) : 2015

Children’s Hospital

Name of Hospital: Children’s Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Number of Stars: 2.5

Comment: You are not allowed to wear your own clothes, you have to wear a purple hospital gown. And if you require a bra then it has to be a sports bra or they can deny you a use of one at all. you have a person in your room 24 hours a day called a “constant” they watch you every minute of the day. If you wanted to shower then you had to leave the door open and talk to them as you shower, and the same rules apply if you use the bathroom. You are not allowed to leave your room except for five minute walks up and down the hall IF your doctor says you are allowed. Only immediate family are allowed to visit, unless they are under the age of 18. The constant goes through all your possessions if your parents bring you anything. You are made to have 5 therapy sessions a day. 2 include family therapy.

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

George Washington University Hospital

Hospital: George Washington University Hospital

City/State/Country: Washington, D.C., United States

Stars: 2.5

Comments: Giving it 2.5 stars mostly just because while nothing completely terrible happened, it wasn’t a good environment for me. The first night I was sobbing as I arrived on the ward so they gave me an anti-anxiety drug and a sleeping aid and I was too upset to object, and I also wanted to be compliant because I was nervous – I knew a lot of bad things could happen in psych wards. I’m not sure what would have happened if I had said no, I don’t want this med. The next couple of days they gave me my old medication and no new ones, which while I was relieved I didn’t get dumped on something heavy-duty, the meds I was on weren’t really working either.

I felt largely ignored by the individuals working there, or they were rude/cold when you asked for things. It didn’t help at all – one of the therapists spent most of the time, instead of helping me come up with coping management skills, being upset at my coffee-drinking and suggested exercise and vitamins (which exercise can help some people but like???)

There were 3-4 groups a day and they weren’t very productive for me, though to be fair I did not go to many. They removed the phones during groups and sometimes forgot to put them back until you asked. There wasn’t a lot of stuff for us to do there in terms of entertainment, though I did find a couple of okay books to read. We weren’t allowed to have our own clothes either.

Type of program: inpatient

Other marginalizations/identities that might have influenced your stay: White, genderqueer/non-binary (did not disclose that part), queer, Autistic