Georgetown University Hospital

Name of Hospital: Georgetown University Hospital

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

Number of Stars: 3

Comment: This unit has both men and women and is voluntary. No involuntary admissions are accepted. Patients share a room with 1-3 roommates. The unit has a day room with television, games, colored pencils, paper, and puzzles. The food isn’t the best, but visitors are allowed to bring food that patients can store in the day room refrigerator. I don’t know much about the groups because I didn’t attend any during my two stays, but there are maybe 2 groups per day and most of the time is downtime.

The staff are all kind and caring, but I had two different experiences of ignorant comments from staff. I was manic during my first stay, and the staff member who checked me in asked me how long it had been since I had slept and commented that he wished he had my energy. During my second stay, one of the staff members yelled into my hearing aids when I couldn’t hear her. She later commented that I couldn’t be very hard of hearing if I could speak so well.

The attending psychiatrists were reasonable and professional, until I said that I wasn’t interested in a medication change. I was clear that I knew my own needs, and what I needed was a few days of rest to come back toward a more normal mood state. They made a lot of recommendations that I didn’t agree with, which was fine until it became clear that they were saying unnecessary negative things about me to my outpatient psychiatrist (who refused to see me again after my stay). I don’t know exactly what they told her, but whatever it was it resulted directly in my losing that line of support. Additionally, the chief resident was rude and treated me like a crazy person with no concept of my own needs. So my review of this unit is very mixed.

Two more positive points: the staff did excellently with accommodations for my hearing loss (especially regarding phone calls) and treated my partner with respect during visiting hours.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Lesbian, hard of hearing

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

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