Fairmount Behavioral Health

Name of Facility: Fairmount Behavioral Health

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Philadelphia, PA, USA

Number of Stars: 1.5

Description of Experience: I was voluntarily admitted for suicidality. The schedule lists group therapy multiple times a day but we only had actual therapy 3-4 times during my 8-day stay. Half of those times, therapy revolved around the 12-step addiction recovery model, which wasn’t helpful to me and the other patients without a history of addiction. (This was because the therapists were borrowed from the dual diagnosis unit and didn’t adapt their sessions.)

Almost every day a ‘therapy’ session would be held where a psych tech would monologue for 45-75min about what he thought about life. Once I left because he was bemoaning that spanking children was no longer ‘pc’ and insisting that more spanking would improve mental health. Physically harming children is a trigger for me, but I was told by another tech that I couldn’t leave the session. On other occasions the monologue was religious Christian in nature.

They have 2-person rooms divided by gender but the unit is coed. When a male patient verbally sexually harassed me nothing was done about it. Homophobic statements were made to me and a young gay man on the unit, especially after my partner visited. The rooms were okay – you can’t close the door, which is to be expected, and the bathroom was sectioned off by a curtain that ended a few inches below my knees.

I arrived with only the clothes I was wearing, and I was given a wrap-around gown with a loop so it didn’t have ties (no laces or strings on the unit) and I never could figure out how to get it on, so I stayed in those clothes for another day until my partner could bring me more (visiting hours were 3 times a week). Underwire bras were also banned from the unit, and since I need an underwire for adequate support I was frequently in pain.

I spoke to a doctor twice, the day after the night I was admitted and the day before I was discharged. I begged to see the doctor sooner because the new medication was helping and I wanted to leave, but he was rarely on the unit. The medication change was helpful though and I’m still taking that med. The cafeteria staff were also flexible in adapting to my dietary needs.

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Lesbian Jewish woman

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

News Articles on Unity Center for Behavioral Health

Name of Facility: Unity Center for Behavioral Health

Location: Portland, OR, USA

News articles:

OrgeonLive/The Oregonian, “Serious safety problems plague Portland’s premier mental health center, state investigation shows,” August 2018: “State investigators have placed Portland’s premier psychiatric crisis center on notice that it could lose its federal certification as early as next month unless it fixes widespread safety problems that allowed patient harm in repeated cases, including attempted suicide and at least one death from alleged medical neglect. The Oregon Health Authority released a 105-page list of issues at Unity after The Oregonian/OregonLive filed a public records request.”

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

News Articles on Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry

Name of Facility: Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry

Location: Columbus, OH, USA

News Articles:

WOSU Public Media (WOSU Radio), “Disability Group Asks Ohio To Protect Patients At Columbus Psychiatric Hospital,” May 2018: “Disability Rights Ohio released a report this week calling attention to Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry’s violations of treatment standards and patient safety – including allegations of physical and sexual abuse.”

News Articles on Arkansas State Hospital

Name of Facility: Arkansas State Hospital

Location: Little Rock, AK, USA

Articles

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “Ex-patient OK’d to testify in Arkansas hospital worker’s sex assault trial,” March 2018: “…Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims ruled Monday that the 35-year-old North Little Rock woman with schizophrenia could testify against the North Little Rock man at his trial over allegations he sexually assaulted another patient last year… Davis is charged with third-degree sexual assault.”

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “Former Arkansas State Hospital worker to file as sex offender; no contest pleaded in patient assault,” March 2018: “A former State Hospital worker…  will have to register as a sex offender after pleading no contest Wednesday to a misdemeanor sex charge, reduced from felony sexual assault.”

News Articles on Bon Secours Community Hospital – Port Jervis

Name of Facility: Bon Secours Community Hospital (Port Jervis location)

Location: Port Jervis, NY, USA

Articles

Times Herald-Record, Town of Wallkill man arraigned in psych ward sex-assault case,” February 2018: “A Town of Wallkill man was arraigned Monday on charges he sexually assaulted a patient in the hospital psychiatric ward where he worked… Chief Trial Assistant District Attorney John Geidel told Judge William DeProspo that the conduct happened in March 2016.”

News Articles on Delaware Psychiatric Center

Name of Facility: Delaware Psychiatric Center

Location: New Castle, DE, USA

Articles

  • Washington Post, “Ex-psychiatric hospital workers plead to criminal charges,” February 2018:  “Prosecutors said the three did not check on a 38-year-old male patient as required in December 2016, but signed logs indicating they had done so. The man died. Another former DPC worker… who worked as a security guard pleaded no contest to patient abuse for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a DPC patient last summer.”