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

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.”

Bellevue Hospital

Name of Facility: Bellevue Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Manhattan, NY, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: Let me start by saying my experiences outpatient, non psych, were always very good at Bellevue. But inpatient psych is a neverending nightmare.

There is no respect for the patient as a human being with autonomy. I checked myself in voluntarily, but as soon as I walked in they made it involuntary, which is standard. Then the nightmare began. It took about 4 hours to get to the first interview. Then I was in another area for another six hours. It was freezing cold and there was just a vinyl couch and you could have a sheet for warmth.

Once they brought me into the actual observation area, it took THREE DAYS before they placed me in a ward. Three days with bright fluorescent lights that never turned off. On cots in the hallway with nothing to do- thank God I brought books. I had brought my medication but they took it away. I needed it at 7 PM but they kept saying the doctor was coming to talk to me. I asked about every hour for my medication. It really really messes me up to not take it. By 3 AM I really was crazy, screaming for my meds. Finally at 4 AM new staff came on who told me the doctor had gone home at ten. The previous staff had just been lying.

A pattern I saw at Bellevue was that they wanted to give you the opposite of what you wanted. For instance, I could not sleep and wanted to. The next cot over, the woman did not want to sleep. They forced her to sleep with an injection of Haldol. I begged for one as well, and they refused.

Once I got to the ward I was put in a room with a roommate. Thank God mine was really nice. A person addicted to coke who had tried to commit suicide, ours was an unlikely friendship, but there were so few people there capable of rational discourse it was a godsend that we were together.

The staff had the hobby of setting people off. I was not sure if I was right about this till my nurse sister did a three month tour of another much better psych ward, and was shocked by the sadism.

First of all, THERE WAS ZERO THERAPY. Yep. None. It was a holding tank. Second, you could NOT see a doctor. There was a psychiatrist who would come in at a run and race through the unit once a day, as we all ran and tried to ask our questions~ when can I leave? My meds are wrong? Etc. He slammed the door in our faces. It must have been a requirement that he physically enter the space, which he did for less than 5 minutes. I was trying and trying to get his attention about my meds and he would not talk to me. I finally got so frustrated I sat down and started hitting my head against the wall behind me. I was carried to my room and he actually came in. He said if I was going to act like that, no wonder he would not see me. I said actually it worked the other way.

My sister, a nurse, visited me after three days. She saw me and ran out and I heard her screaming WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY SISTER?!?!? They had drugged me so I could barely talk. Turned out they were mixing up my day vs night meds. She got that fixed.

Meds were humiliating. When it was time for meds, we each had to stand at our room doorways. We were not allowed to sit on the floor. We were not allowed to move our chair to the doorway. We just had to stand and wait. This was about an hour and a half twice a day. When they made a mistake with my meds they would not review with me. They simply refused to give me any of my meds and wrote that I had refused. They started me on Risperdal without my permission, and I have not been able to get off of it since.

After that roommate went, I made friends with the only other intelligent life force in the ward. He was a punk rocker with a long Mohawk and lots of tats. Again IRL we had nothing in common but you cling to the humanity you find, and we talked and talked. The staff hated this. They hated him. Well, they hated all of us, but hated him vehemently. They would try to separate us from talking to each other, for no reason. I do not recall what they gave as an excuse, but they forbade us to talk in the common area. We were not allowed in each others rooms of course, so there was just the hallway to talk in, outside my room. Again we were not allowed to sit on the floor or bring the chairs out.

One time we had sat down and a custodian came through and made a racial comment to the rocker. He and I screamed back at the man. The staff came and several of them closed in on him and gave him a shot he did not want, to calm him down; and basically carried him away. I needed something to calm me down. They refused, even though it was on my chart to give me ativan as requested. Another example of doing the opposite of what patients want. I begged for hours. They gave me some six hours later.

The outdoors access was a space on the roof with a basketball hoop and a picnic table. It was enclosed in chain link fence which covered the top, too, like an aviary. If we were “good” we could go out for 20 minutes three times a week. I started to climb on the chain link fence- what else was there to do- and they did not let me out again.

My sister brought me some purple nail polish and they let her put it on me (she could not leave the glass bottle). Then my punk rocker friend wanted it too, but as my sister was putting it on his three inch nails, the staff made her stop. It was not appropriate. No reason.

After a week the doctor told me I was to go home. I knew I was still not safe. He had barely spoken to me but he decided I was able to leave. Then my boyfriend asked me to go to Europe with him. So I wanted to go. Suddenly the doctor changed his tune and said I had to stay. Always trying to make patients as unhappy as possible. I thought I was going to have to sue for my freedom. My outpatient psychiatrist afterwards told me there had been a big debate on whether I should be allowed to go to Europe. NOT whether I would be healthy or safe. Whether I DESERVED to.

Why doesn’t anyone have oversight about psych wards? Some agency needs to pro-actively come in with questionnaires for everyone; and there should be good patient advocates. Why do they allow psych wards to have no treatment? What other medical condition can you go inpatient with and receive no care?

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: None. Cis white girl

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.”

SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital

Name of Facility: SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Wentzville, MO, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: Awful hospital experience. I willingly admitted myself and my time there ranged from downright terrifying to comically miserable. The staff are rude and unprofessional, most of them seeming as though they’d rather be anywhere else. The atmosphere was dirty and food stains from spills remained on the tables for days at a time.

Group therapy was required, though not particularly constructive seeing as though most everyone was there for different reasons. It was impossible to find a doctor and when you did meet with him, the encounter was short and essentially boiled down to “when am I getting out?” “I don’t know.” “ok.”

During my stay…
– I was refused HRT whilst being told repeatedly that it was the cause of my mental health issues. (When it finally WAS given to me, it was with several pages of printed-out prayers?)
– I was openly discriminated against by the staff for being trans, then threatened with sedation and removal of visitation rights after becoming angry.

I added .5 stars because the weekend staff treated me like a human, which was nice. Other than that, I left feeling worse than I did when I was admitted.

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Being transgender.

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

Sheppard Pratt Trauma Unit

Name of Facility: Sheppard Pratt Trauma Unit

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

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: My therapist thought this place would be the magic bullet for my dissociation bc they specialize in it, but Shepherd Pratt trauma unit is a btr than average psych ward, not more. I was unimpressed with the daily groups they ran, mostly by mental health workers, who were lightly trained 20 year olds. The drs were good.

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

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

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.”