Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital

Name of Facility: Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital

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

Number of Stars: 4.5

Description of Experience: So I thought I’d do a review for Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital(SPBH) as its brand new and there are no reviews available. I have been to Fairfax Kirkland, Overlake Hospital, and Skagit Hospital in the psych wards of each hospital. Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital by far has the best psych ward. I ended up at Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital within 2 weeks after it opened.

I had serious reservations about going somewhere brand new as there was no information out there for if Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital was a good psych ward or not. I came in for hearing voices unsure if it was just OCD or if it was psychosis. I came in under a referral from my psychiatrist so I had to do a assessment that lasted about 2 hours. After doing the assessment I had to wait in this room for about 30 minutes while they discussed what would be the best treatment option for me. After waiting 30 minutes they confirmed that I would be admitted to the psych ward. After that I went up stairs to the psych ward.

SPBH will eventually have 6 psych ward units but at the time when I was admitted only one was open. I’m unsure if more have opened by now but as of August 16, 2017 only one unit was open. Once I got up stairs I saw the unit it was a typical psych ward unit I believe the unit is called 2 East. The unit was nicer than Overlake and Skagit (which Skagit looked like a prison) but not as nice as the new part of Fairfax (West 2) but nicer than the old part of Fairfax (Central, North, South, East).

The unit has a milieu and a group room as well as bed rooms. Once you get on the unit they do a strip search to make sure you have no weapons or anything else to hide which is really uncomfortable but all psych ward do it and then a nurse does her own assessment. Once that is all done they show you to your room the rooms are typical psych ward rooms with an uncomfortable bed but that is to be expected in a psych ward. In my opinion what makes or breaks a psych ward is the staff and I have to say the staff at SPBH are exceptionally awesome. Shout out to some of the staff includes the Mental Health Techs, as well as the nurses, the therapist, and the discharge planner.

SPBH is big on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I personally prefer Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and they do occasionally have a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy group. Recreational Therapy in my opinion was hit or miss. Some of the activities were fun such as volley ball, making food and art but most of the time the groups were reading about activities and honestly the group was very boring. After talking to other patients the general consensus was nobody really loved Recreational Therapy. The doctors  were both really exceptional. One was honestly better than my psychiatrist at home. I connected with the other as well as he used to work at the Eating Recovery Center and I’m recovering from an eating disorder so it was nice to have someone who understood eating disorders working at SPBH.

The food for the most part was really good at SPBH though some cooks were better than others. My biggest concern for Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital would be as the hospital begins to open more units the quality of the hospital would begin to go down. Right now the hospital full and undivided attention is on 2 East as that’s the only unit open but that won’t last forever.

My general consensus of Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is that it is the best behavioral hospital around and I would recommend it to anyone who is in need of care that only a psych hospital can offer.

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

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

Seattle Children’s Hospital

Name of Hospital: Seattle Children’s Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Seattle, WA, USA

Number of Stars: 3.5

Comment: My stay at Seattle Children’s was infinitely better than my first hospitalization experience. While most hospitals operate under the assumption that you will use anything you can find to hurt yourself or others, Seattle Children’s assumes that you will stay safe until proven otherwise. You aren’t watched while you shower unless you try to hurt yourself in the bathroom, you’re allowed to use any and all writing utensils unless you use them to hurt yourself, etc.

There was a pool, a service dog (which was my favorite part of my whole hospitalization experience, she was a golden retriever and the sweetest dog ever,) and if anyone tries to bring you a notebook that’s somehow “dangerous,” they’ll provide you with a different notebook, which was incredibly helpful to me considering writing and drawing are usually my main coping mechanisms. They provide time to keep caught up on your homework, and they actually bring in a certified teacher to help whenever they can.

The lessons they do for coping mechanisms and such are helpful the first time, but after you hear the same coping mechanisms and lessons over and over again like I have considering I’ve been hospitalized many many times, it can get incredibly boring. The staff NEVER touches you unless completely necessary, and I never even once saw anyone get sedated—I actually had a panic attack there and they closed off the area I was in to let me be alone until I calmed down. They have very comfortable rooms that can have 1-2 beds in them, and I was only once given a roommate before I was open about being a trans man and bisexual.

After that, I was always given a room to myself, which I personally preferred, but another trans man there was disappointed he didn’t get to have a roommate. The food wasn’t amazing, but at least it was edible—unfortunately it gets mostly cold by the time the trays are brought to the psych ward, but I’ve had far worse food in my hospitalization experiences.

The staff is usually sensitive and kind, however the only reason I give it a 3.5 instead of a 5 is because after I was hospitalized after coming out as a trans man, they refused to call me by my preferred name. It’s understandable that my legal name was put on my bracelet and food, but they never even once called me by my preferred name or pronouns. I thought when I went in they would be sensitive about my gender, but at that point I was outed to all the other patients as a trans man and they started asking me incredibly invasive questions, and the staff never did anything to help me with that. It was so humiliating to be treated that way, and it wouldn’t have helped by much to pretend I was a cis girl.

I seriously wish the staff was more sensitive towards trans people, but that’s really the only major drawback to Seattle Children’s in my experiences there.

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

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

Fairfax Behavioral Health

Name of Hospital: Fairfax Behavioral Health

City, State/Province, Country: Kirkland, WA, USA

Number of Stars: 1.5

Comment: I was put in Fairfax hospital immediately after my first suicide attempt. I gave full consent to be placed in the inpatient program, thinking it would help me fight my depression. There were many sections of the hospital, and I was placed in the one for those under the age of eighteen. The only reason I give it a 1.5 instead of a 1 is because I know now there are worse experiences people have had, and at least I was capable of being completely submissive and hide my symptoms of PTSD (which I had not yet been diagnosed with.)

My parents brought a suitcase filled with my clothes and things to keep me entertained, but it was hours before I was allowed to change out of the embarrassingly tiny hospital gown I was given. (I’ve been given bigger hospital gowns in my life—the one I was given must have been for children far younger than me, it barely went down below my underwear, which thank god I was allowed to keep wearing.) They took all the strings out of my clothes, wouldn’t let me have my bras that had wires, and didn’t allow me to keep my book OR my sketchbook to keep me entertained during downtime.

When I was first admitted, I saw them forcibly sedate another patient and thrown into the “quiet room,” which taught me to keep quiet and be completely compliant. I later found the quiet room consists only of the frame of a bed, not even a mattress or pillows or anything, in the middle of an otherwise completely empty room. There were multiple staff members that refused to do lessons on coping mechanisms just because they didn’t “feel like it”, so we just sat in silence most of the time I was there. They forced you to be public and open about traumatic experiences in front of all the staff and other patients, which I had to suppress a panic attack over so I wouldn’t get sedated.

Staff members would come in in the middle of the night and pull blankets off of you and shake you awake to see if you were still alive, MULTIPLE times a night. Being touched against my will by strange men triggered my PTSD, so every night I was there, I had to fight back intense panic attacks so they wouldn’t hold me down to sedate me and drag me into that empty room. Fortunately for me, I was successful in hiding my PTSD the whole time I was there, so I never got sedated, but it was at LEAST three times a day I watched people I had become close to get dragged away.

When I voiced my concern as gently as possible about being randomly touched in the middle of the night, the staff member I spoke to actually MOCKED me. He made fun of me for being terrified of the men who refused to keep their hands off of me. On top of that, the boredom I experienced is a lot worse than it may sound. It felt like actual torture. For hours each day, we sat and did nothing.

The most I had to look forward to was a pudding cup for a snack—and that was all I felt compelled to eat considering the food wasn’t even up to food service guidelines. The ham was slimy, the bread was hard and I’m pretty sure I saw spots of mold, the food that was supposed to be hot felt like they just took it out of the freezer. I THOUGHT I was magically better after I left, but honestly, the extreme excitement and joy I felt was just a result of feeling like I was freed from being tortured, and I didn’t realize that until months later considering I tend to repress memories left and right.

Please, if you’re on this site looking for somewhere to send someone you care about, DO NOT SEND THEM TO FAIRFAX. The only way to survive is to pretend you’re not mentally ill, and even though I was successful in doing so, even after being sent to a better hospital for another suicide attempt later in my life, I’m still terrified of hospitals. Things will only get far, far worse if you’re put in Fairfax.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Thankfully, I did not present as a trans man at the time. I have no idea what could have happened if I DID present as trans at the time, but it really couldn’t have been anything good.

News Articles on Seattle Children’s Hospital

Name of Hospital: Seattle Children’s Hospital

Location: Seattle, WA, USA

Articles

Seattle Pi“Lawsuit describes string of sexual assaults at Seattle Children’s Hospital,” February 2015: Lawsuit alleges staff failed to notice and intervene as a patient repeatedly sexually assaulted another patient in the children’s inpatient unit; cites other similar assaults on public record

Fairfax

Name of Hospital: Fairfax

City, State/Province, Country: Kirkland, WA, USA

Number of Stars: 1.5

Comment: This was my first experience being hospitalized and I haven’t been hospitalized since, so I may have a low frame of reference for comparison. However, I found the experience to be very unhelpful. The only time I got to talk with someone about my experiences at length was during intake.

They immediately put me on Abilify without describing any of the side effects to me or what sort of medication it was. They also stopped giving me my Cymbalta which I had been taking before intake, which is renowned for its terrible withdrawal effects. I believe they gave me Cymbalta again a few days later after I complained about the side effects of stopping, but parts of my experience are unclear or forgotten due to my dissociative disorder.

Some of the staff members were friendly and compassionate, but it was overall understaffed. The only one-on-one time with a therapist was for about 15 minutes about every 3 days. Overall I felt very ignored by the staff. The day room where all of the group therapy was located was very small, everyone could hardly fit in there. Toward the end the low-quality beds and chairs of the facility made my chronic back pain so bad I couldn’t go to group therapy.

I didn’t learn any coping skills or receive any help for the 10 days I was there. When they released me I seemed to have ‘improved’ due to the restlessness side effect of the Abilify and mania. Any perceived ‘improvement’ was gone by the time the restlessness side effect wore off a couple of weeks later. Upon discharge I was assigned a male therapist after I had said I was only comfortable with women.

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

Fairfax Hospital

Name of Hospital: Fairfax Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Kirkland, WA, USA

Number of Stars: 2.5

Comment: I’ve been both inpatient and done PHP(day program) at Fairfax multiple times. I’m going to review the inpatient and partial program separately as I have completely opposite opinion towards both programs.

The inpatient unit is way too understaffed, the last time I was there someone attempted suicide and nearly suceeded and probably would have if it wasn’t for the fact that their roommate woke up in the middle of the attempt. For every 40 patients theirs only about 3 nurses and 2-3 support staff. When problems arise the whole place just turns into utter chaos. The staff is extremely unhappy so unhappy that their’s actually a public Facebook page where they discuss safety concerns and how the hospital ignores them and treats the staff horribly. The doctors can be extremely rude. Nearly all their good doctors have left.

No real therapy happens, their are groups but the groups aren’t well run for the most part and extremely dry. I’ve seen them kick patients out who are self harming and contemplating suicide because their distractions to other patients putting the patient in danger. Don’t plan on any individual therapy sessions as that doesn’t happen there. The cost to be there is $3,000 a day, I’ve been to better facilities for an $1,000 an day with 4 therapy sessions a week, stellar group therapy, and double the nurses and triple the support staff.

The PHP on the other hand is a totally different world and I’ve had absolutely stellar experiences with their PHP and would recommend their PHP to anyone looking for an PHP as its the best one I’ve ever been to. Their PHP will typically have no more than 12 patients at a time and when they do have 12 patients they tend to split groups. Their doctor is not the same as the last time I went from what I’ve been told who left when she started a family but she was absolutely fabulous and extremely knowledgable and probably my favorite psychiatrist I’ve ever worked with. If she ever went into private practice I would definitely without an doubt hire her as my psychiatrist. I’ve heard really good things about the psychiatrist they have there now from patients whom been in the program recently.

A nurse they have there is also probably my favorite Fairfax nurse I’ve ever had, she used to work inpatient and was a great inpatient nurse. She’s extremely knowledgable and runs various groups including an nutrition group, as well as a very knowledgable medication education group. She’s also extremely easy to talk to and pretty funny, when ever we’d chat she’d always be able to make me smile and laugh even when I didn’t feel like smiling and laughing.

The therapist they have in the partial program are also probably the best therapist they have at Fairfax in my opinion, they run some great groups and the groups are very engaging. Also they do more individual therapy there than they do at inpatient and are much easier to speak to regarding any concerns.

So I’m giving Fairfax 2 1/2 stars which in other words 1 star for the inpatient program and 5 stars for the PHP program. It’s hard to believe both are owned by the same company as their inpatient is probably the worst inpatient I’ve ever gone to while their PHP is the best PHP I’ve ever gone to.

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

Fairfax

Name of Hospital: Fairfax

City, State/Province, Country: Kirkland, Washington, USA

Number of Stars: 3

Comment: It was mostly smooth sailing besides when I was attacked by another patient, it took staff quite a while to deal with. However they were understaffed and this was in the teenage ward so results may vary. I also remember one male staff member triggering a rape victim and punished her for having a breakdown. She did throw a chair, yes, but her reaction was appropiate after he triggered her into a meltdown, and they punished her with isolation for 24 hours. It was not the best way to handle the solution at all.

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