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

Fairmount Behavioral Health

Name of Hospital: Fairmount Behavioral Health (partial program)

City, State/Province, Country: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: Really, the best I can say of this program is that they kept us busy and fed us. It consisted of some 20 to 30 adults sitting in a single crowded room around a circle of tables for an entire day, aside from two 15 minute smoke breaks, and doing absolutely nothing helpful to anyone. Every so often they’d take you out to talk to an overworked therapist, and on your first and last day you saw the psychiatrist to talk about your meds. The things that most concerned me, though: 1) They knew I am autistic; it was in my paperwork and I’d discussed it with them when joining them. There was a day when I was struggling, so I went into an empty hallway to pace up and down to try to self-soothe, keeping my eyes closed because the light was too much for me to handle. A therapist came out and told me that walking up and down with closed eyes was a safety concern and I would need to open my eyes if I wanted to pace, so I stopped walking instead and switched to rocking so I could keep my eyes closed. When she saw me rocking in the hallway with closed eyes doing absolutely nothing disruptive to the group and posing no danger to anyone, myself included, she started threatening to send me to inpatient if I didn’t shape up. 2) When I was talking to my therapist in our one on one session and mentioned that I was having suicidal thoughts, she took no time to discuss them with me or discover the severity before sending me back to join the group for the latest inane activity.

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

Fairmount Behavioral Health

Name of Hospital: Fairmount Behavioral Health

City, State/Province, Country: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Number of Stars: 2

Comment: It was warehousing people who were off their meds. The staff were professional at worst and some of them took the time to engage with patients, but the daily activities were all busywork and there was nothing helpful to be had. It was impossible to get in touch with a doctor post-intake, so if you needed meds adjusted or added on, you were out of luck.

They offered to let me see a therapist and the first time I got to talk to him was the day I was being discharged. If you had special dietary considerations, you needed the approval of the on-site nutritionist in order to get your meals adjusted accordingly, but no effort was made to bring me into contact with any such person when I expressed the need.

There are rules against patients having stuffed animals or bringing in their own blankets, which is extremely problematic coming from the perspective of someone who often needs my weighted teddy bear or weighted blanket to help me self-soothe. There were also issues with my friends getting turned away on visitation day because the computer system had me registered on another ward, as well as them losing one of my personal belongings and nothing being done about it.

All rooms were 2 person, assigned by gender, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking further questions about how they approached the issue of gender. It was helpful because I needed supervision while I stabilized, but that’s really the best I can say.

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