Haven Psychiatric Hospital

Name of Facility: Haven Psychiatric Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Dayton, Ohio, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I submitted myself for a voluntary hold because I was having problems with my medications. Having only one previous hospitalization, which I consider the best decision of my life, I came here with high hopes for making a plan to get me back on track. Within a couple hours I realized what a horrible mistake I’d made.

This was not only my perception—every person there who had been previously hospitalized agreed that this was by far the worst place they’d ever been to.

The staff was awful. Some days it was 15 patients to a nurse, making it impossible for them to do their job effectively or even give us meds as needed since they were so busy. Apparently there is a real doctor on staff but my only interaction with her was one day she passed me in the hall and asked if I was feeling ok. Since she didn’t introduce herself and I’d never seen her before I assumed she was just being polite, not realizing that that was apparently my doctor visit for the day! On the other days I saw a “doctor” who turned out to be a nurse practitioner, which is fine but I don’t think it’s ok for an NP to present themselves as an MD in a hospital!

The nurse practitioner decided to put me on an antipsychotic at three times the typical dose for schizophrenia with no titration the first day I was there, despite having no history of psychosis or violence ( he himself diagnosed me with depression WITHOUT psychotic features). The dose was so high I had distorted vision and was seeing colors that weren’t there! However I also quickly saw that anyone who complained about it (EVERYONE regardless of diagnoses was on antipsychotics) was told they wouldn’t be released until they agreed to take it for three days, which left me in a position where I felt like I was being medicated against my will, with a medication that harmed me, due to the threats for not taking it.

The hospital serves three populations: adult psych patients, (non-medicated) drug detoxing, and geriatric psych. There was no division of violent and nonviolent patients, meaning that some of the people going through withdrawal and/or psychosis were literally assaulting the other patients while staff looked on. One man urinated and defecated in the halls, with the staff maybe picking it up after a few hours but never sanitizing the area. The same man crawled into several women’s beds while they were sleeping, which the staff brushed off as ‘oh he doesn’t know what he’s doing ‘.

My roommate was 102 years old and I was essentially her aide. She had severe dementia and thought I worked for her, which the staff encouraged, often bringing her to me to watch when they didn’t want to be bothers. The aides at this place seemed either irritated or disgusted with us, and would stop to chat with each other for 20+ minutes at a time after you asked for help. In the five days I was there my roommate did not have her dirty sheets changed on a single occasion that I didn’t do it. All of the elderly patients were treated similarly. Left for hours in their excrement and page buttons ignored. Apparently helping someone get out of bed and into a wheelchair is too much to ask, so elderly patients would spend most of the day staring at the walls crying. There were numerous cases of elder abuse/neglect seen every day.

There was very little to do. Exercise was usually 20 minutes of chair stretches. Art/music therapy was very good and ran by a part-time activities person who was one of the few staff who seemed to genuinely care. There were two large televisions but nurses kept the remote. The food wasn’t very good and there were very few options. Portions were small and you could not order extra food without approval (I was denied the soup I ordered because that was too much food with a turkey sandwich).

While the aides resented and ignored us, and the nurses were too overworked to help us, the social workers and doctors were practically nonexistent. My one other hospitalization involved two group therapy sessions a day, seeing the doctor every day, and making an individualized plan with my assigned social worker, this place did none of those things. We were supposed to have two groups a day led my the social workers, but in the five days I was there not a single one was held. My intake assessment with the doctor took about three minutes. I saw him come in each morning but he never spoke to me again until I was discharged. This was also the only time I spoke with the social worker. Instead of making a plan with me she just talked at me for a couple minutes then checked off boxes which said things like I have a safe home (I didn’t) or that I refused counseling (I wasn’t offered).

They were pro LGBT in the sense that they didn’t seem to think it existed, so therefor ignored it. This was certainly better than their obsession with straight sex. I got warnings for walking down the hall with a man, no touching, in plain sight. I understand this is an inappropriate place for sexual conduct, but surely that would be better addressed one-on-one as it arises, rather than the weird paternalism which was suspicious of people talking but fine when someone was actually being sexually harassed/assaulted. Most of us women were groped or grabbed and the woman next room over found a guy masturbating all over her bed, but this was ignored.

Quite frankly, this place was so traumatic that it’s come up in my therapy sessions as we work through my PTSD. I left far worse off than when I arrived.

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

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

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