High Focus Centers

Name of Facility: High Focus Centers

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Cranford, NJ, USA

Number of Stars: 4.5

Description of Experience: High Focus provided me with many many techniques on coping skills and mindfulness practice. I don’t give it 5 stars because the clinicians can range in being really helpful/positive/supportive to being very negative/unsupportive. During my time there I witnessed several clinicians deny their patients arguments and feelings. The MHAs and Van Drivers are often very polite and know how to help kids out. They have school sessions included in their day-to-day treatment schedules. I think there are several situations some of the clinicians are just unprepared for.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Partial Day (PHP) & Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2016-2017

Saint Clare’s Hospital (Boonton)

Name of Hospital: Saint Clare’s Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Boonton, NJ, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: This was my first hospital stay, and one of the worst. The nurses were crass and unempathetic. They yelled at the patients when they cried, told them to “suck it up.” We weren’t allowed in our rooms other than to shower and sleep. Which meant we were all confined to these two common rooms that stunk because they were never cleaned and a lot of the people didn’t bathe and would sleep in the common rooms since we weren’t allowed in our own rooms. It was about 20 people on the unit confined to 2 rooms.

They advertised as having groups, but over my 2 week stay they maybe actually held about 3 of them. Total. All day we just sat in the common areas and watched TV, which was usually something graphic because they didn’t restrict what we could watch.

I was grossed out by the common areas, and would usually spend my time reading sitting on the floor in the hallway. They would take us out on walks around the parking lot if you earned them. Once a day. They wouldn’t let family or visitors onto the actual unit and there’s a reason. The whole place was disgusting.

Also, they did nothing to make sure I had follow up care, so when I left there was no one to refill my medication. The doctor didnt see you every day.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: No

Year(s) : 2009

Hackensack University Medical Center

Name of Hospital: Hackensack Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Hackensack, New Jersey, USA

Number of Stars: 4

Comment: I was there between 2011-2014 and I was there over a dozen times. The hospital is clean and the food is not that bad for hospital food. There is a little outside area you can go sit in the warmer weathers that they open up for you as long as group is not going on. Most psych wards in hospitals don’t have outside areas so this is a plus. It’s small though and feels like you are in a cage but it’s better than nothing. There are groups during the day and when there is not you can watch tv.

The staff is very caring and nice. Now the doctors that’s another story I’ve had good doctors over there but they left and the ones they replaced them with are horrible, but you do get to see them every day which is a plus most hospitals don’t do that. You get a social worker assigned to you they have two on the unit and she works with you for your discharge and after care.

And, for a special treat if you have money the recreational therapist will go downstairs in the afternoons and buy you snacks like candy. And, the also have pet therapy again which most hospitals do not. Of all the hospitals I’ve been this is by far the best.

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

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

Year(s) : 2011-2014

Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care

Name of Hospital: Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care

City, State/Province, Country: Piscataway, NJ, United States

Number of Stars: 4

Comment: UBHC treated me very well. Yeah, it felt like a prison sometimes, especially with the tight schedule (except on weekends), but I was treated with respect by the staff. I assume other psych wards have similar protocol. If anyone had any issues, they would try and reason with them instead of automatically getting sedatives. They had a system that allowed more privileges as a reward for going through treatment, which I liked best.

I was able to go outside and see the garden and feel more independent. The treatment programs they had helped us feel comfortable with each other, and enabled us to support each other. The only major complaint I had is that everything was really strict, but again I assume that’s protocol.

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

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

Year(s) : 2015

Hackensack University Medical Hospital

Name of Hospital: Hackensack University Medical Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Hackensack, New Jerey, USA

Number of Stars: 2

Comment: Stayed here over the winter. We couldn’t go outside for air, the windows were locked, and it was incredibly stuffy.

Food was atrocious, worse than anything I’ve ever eaten in my life and I’ve attended public school. I’ve had friends and family stay at HUMH for physical health problems and they all gave the food glowing reviews; it tasted awful and one other patient got so sick from eating it he passed out and the doctors pulled him aside to try to convince him not to sue the hospital.

Doctors were mostly indifferent to us, but some of the nursing staff were very kind and compassionate. They set you up with doctors upon discharge but won’t find you a therapy program.

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

High Focus Centers

Name of Hospital: High Focus

City, State/Province, Country: Freehold, NJ, USA

Number of Stars: 4

Comment: High Focus was actually very useful in terms of helping me learn coping techniques and there was a noticeable decline in my symptoms by the end of my time there. The facility is also very nice. The reason I am not giving it five stars is because some of the therapists there have very obvious control issues.For example, near the end of my time there I did not feel like contributing to group therapy (it was optional and not everyone did it every day) and politely said I didn’t feel like talking that day. The therapist yelled at me in front of all the other patients and said that since I was almost ready for discharge, I should tell everyone how well my life was going to set a good example. Obviously this is ridiculous, and it was clear that she had an explosive reaction only because I did not behave the way she expected me to. Also while I appreciated this organization’s approach toward calling out unhealthy behavior, there was absolutely no sensitivity while doing so. If someone is in a day or partial program then they are probably going to be incredibly emotionally sensitive and some staff did not seem to realize this.

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

Hoboken University Medical Center

Name of Hospital: Hoboken University Medical Center

City, State/Province, Country: Hoboken, NJ, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: this really was one of the worst experiences of my life. the rooms were disgusting and the showers were unhygienic. the staff was horrible and put me on anti-psychotic medication for a condition i’d never been diagnosed for and it made me sick. the food was literally inedible; i lost 10 pounds in 3 days.

there were no mandatory “groups” or individual therapy sessions, you basically just sat around all day. cellphones were strictly forbidden and your only access to the outside world was through payphones which cost a quarter (many of the patients were homeless and couldn’t afford this). when i complained about the conditions, the psychiatrist told me that i was too “emotionally unstable” to be taken seriously and that’s why i was in the program to begin with (i was there for a suicide attempt). it was freezing cold and the blankets were thin; i don’t think i got more than 6 or 7 hours of sleep total over the course of my three day stay.

when i complained about the conditions a second time, i was put in “solitary” – aka a single room with just a bed, blank walls, seriously like a caricature of a psych ward. i received literally 0 psychiatric treatment during my time there; the only program i was forced to go to was art where i drew pictures of dogs. we pretty much just watched TV 24/7. i think one time one of the staff members brought in a DVD. avoid this place at all cost, it literally made my mental health situation worse than it was before.

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