High Focus Centers

Name of Facility: High Focus Centers

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Cranford, NJ, USA

Number of Stars: 4.5

Description of Experience: High Focus provided me with many many techniques on coping skills and mindfulness practice. I don’t give it 5 stars because the clinicians can range in being really helpful/positive/supportive to being very negative/unsupportive. During my time there I witnessed several clinicians deny their patients arguments and feelings. The MHAs and Van Drivers are often very polite and know how to help kids out. They have school sessions included in their day-to-day treatment schedules. I think there are several situations some of the clinicians are just unprepared for.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Partial Day (PHP) & Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2016-2017

Miami Valley Hospital

Name of Hospital: Miami Valley Hospital

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

Number of Stars: 4.5

Comment: I stayed on the psych unit for inpatient treatment for about two weeks in 2012 after a suicide attempt. I had a positive experience with the unit in general, but am reducing one star because of a misdiagnosis that, looking back, could have completely been prevented if a closer watch had been kept by an actual doctor (I only saw a resident for about five minutes at six am every morning, during which I was so sleepy I didn’t even know what was going on.)

I was admitted late in the evening, and the nurses were very kind about finding a change of clothes that fit comfortably and gently trying to coax me into eating something I would like. The rooms are pretty nice, even though I sometimes had to share. There is a privacy curtain, which is more than I can say for other facilities. The bathroom has a full heavy door for complete privacy and a metal mirror, which is something other places don’t always have.

There is a nurse call button by the bed. The beds are typical hospital beds but are nicer than the plastic-covered foam mattresses that some others have. Things are nice and quiet at night, the nurses don’t come in at all hours getting vitals or anything. If you want to sleep during the day they are ok with that, they just check on you quietly from time to time.

The rooms have plenty of shelves for personal belongings, which family can bring as long as it does not violate the safety precautions. They may also bring street clothes, which you can wash for free in the machines they have in the unit. Flowers deliveries are allowed in plastic vases. Visiting can occur in the common area or private rooms with an attendant. At mealtimes you can order off a list and the food is brought up. You can eat in your room or in the common area. There’s a little corner with decaf tea and snacks. The common area has a TV and some games and puzzles.

All the nurses were excellent, they made sure you were comfortable physically but often stopped to ask if you wanted to talk about anything. They weren’t therapists or anything but they were willing to just listen, which was really comforting. There was one nurse who was not helpful, one day I had a searing migraine and she absolutely refused to ask my resident to order me a prescription of the medication prescribed by my family doctor because, according to her, I should have asked him when he made his rounds (at 6am, when I was ASLEEP.) She was horribly rude and unfeeling.

But one bad nurse out of dozens isn’t that awful, I suppose. I would choose this hospital over any other if I ever needed another inpatient stay.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: no

Year(s) : 2012

Sheppard Pratt Hospital

Name of Hospital: Sheppard Pratt Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Towson, MD, USA

Number of Stars: 4.5

Comment: I showed up at Sheppard-Pratt in crisis (depression, anxiety, eating disorder, suicidal ideations). Waiting room was impersonal and cold, and I nearly broke down and fled while waiting in the crisis center. But once I saw a nurse, she saw how bad off I was and called a doctor immediately. When (between sobs) I made it clear that I had no insurance and no money, they waived the crisis center referral fee and immediately referred me to the Resident Outpatient Program. $5/half hour to see a last-year psych resident who could prescribe medications. It was a literal lifesaver in my case – I guarantee I’d be dead without it.

I kept going to the ROP for about two and a half years until I moved out of state and though having the psych docs cycling once a year sucked, they were all fairly solid. They were also forgiving about payment, accepting payment in spare change and/or late when necessary. When I moved, my ROP therapist went out of her way attempting to find a similar program in Cincinnati to no avail.

That said, I’ve had a friend involuntarily referred to the inpatient program here back in the 90s and it literally left her with PTSD. Though my experience was excellent, other people’s may not be (especially PoC – I’m white, and that may be why I had a good experience and my friend did not).

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

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

Year(s) : 2010-2012

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

Georgetown University Hospital

Hospital: Georgetown University Hospital

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

Stars: 4.5

Comments: Treated pretty well there. The staff seemed to genuinely care. The groups could have been a little more interesting most of the time but some of them were useful like the stress management one. They had a lot of board games, books, art supplies, a laundry room, and a TV (complete with movies to check out). My room had its own shower unit (I don’t think all of them did, and other people said sometimes it was hard to get hot water – I never had that issue).

One thing I didn’t like, apart from having to go there, was that the patient phones did not call long-distance so you would have to ask them to make long-distance calls for you, and they took the phones and turned off the TV during groups. They didn’t require you to go to the groups for the most part, however, though it was encouraged – and there were only about 2 groups a day. This left a lot of downtime.

Another downside was that I saw three different doctors while I was there partly because I was there over the weekend. It’s also a teaching hospital, so you get some different people at different times.

Additionally the food was pretty bad except for their mac n cheese and chicken tenders, and sometimes people’s orders got screwed up. But if you had money, they would let you order food over the phone to be delivered right up to the ward door. I ordered pizza once.

They did listen when I said I did not want a medication, though I’m not sure if this was everyone’s experience. They used my preferred name though I didn’t tell them about being non-binary. You can wear your own clothes on the ward. Note this is a voluntary ward. It’s definitely still a hospital/institution, but I was surprised at how many things were available for us to do and the general niceness of the staff.

Type of program: Inpatient

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