The state of a mental hospital has gone through many changes over the years with the knowledge of new medicines and treatments. In the old days you heard of straight jackets, lobotomies and experimentation on patients. Some things have changed over time, but the experiences that a patient goes through while being at one of these hospitals leaves much to be desired. Nowadays you can go into these places and expect structured schedules with much counseling and medication education, but the experience that I had recently has caused nightmares.
The place I stayed at had windows boarded up with no sunshine in patients’ rooms. The common room was drab and messy. There were no games or puzzles. They had books, but they were torn and old. The schedule lacked order, and there were no activities to keep patients busy. There was a TV that was ruled by the attendants, so if a ball game was on television, that’s where the channel stayed. Visitation was scheduled for an hour two days a week and two hours on Saturday. This was difficult as I lived far away, and my family couldn’t come during the scheduled times. Permission was given for my daughter to see me, but we were monitored in a “family session” during the visit.
The facility that I was in kept all adult patients in the same area, so patients that were there because of drugs or alcohol abuse were with those there for medication monitoring as I was there for. This made it difficult for me, and others, as these patients would lash out at attendants and other patients constantly making it loud and unbearable. Vulgar language from patients was overlooked as long as the patient wasn’t hitting anyone. Several times I had to avoid someone wanting to start a fight to stir up trouble. The ward was a constant state of a battle ground, and I’m not surprised that I’m having nightmares now that I’m home.
All in all, I think that had the facilities been in better repair, programs for healing had been in place and if patients had been separated by needs, the place may have been acceptable. As it was, the facility was a place of nightmares. Nurses were concerned that I would relapse and become more depressed. They were also concerned that my blood pressure was up.
More and more people these days are needing these facilities as doctors are refusing to monitor their patients and leaving it up to the hospitals. More patient care and education is necessary to make them better. I know I would have felt better had this been in place.