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Daughter putting herself voluntarily in psych unit. What next?

(9 Posts)
ladyinthelibrary Thu 27-Sep-12 17:39:06

21yo DD1 took an overdose on Monday, been in hospital since then, just doesn't want to be here. She has agreed to go to a psychiatric unit - what can we expect to happen once she's there? Can anyone shed any light please?

Grumpla Thu 27-Sep-12 17:48:26

Sorry to hear you are going through this.

A friend of mine was in a psych unit earlier this year. He was there voluntarily, but I think if he hadn't agreed to go in they would have sectioned him as it followed a suicide attempt. It was a strange place but he said he felt safe there. Apparently nights are difficult - noisy and bright, they checked on him regularly. We were allowed to visit and they set aside a private room just off reception for this. Weirdly it was pretty much like a nursing home to visit. It wasn't frightening at all. We took toddler DS with us too.

I haven't got much more in the way of concrete info I'm afraid only that for my friend it was helpful. He has made a pretty good recovery although still a way to go obviously. He went on a new set of drugs and was there for the whole "settling down" stage of the meds which was helpful. I was surprised at how little access to 1-2-1 counseling he had but there were group sessions daily.

I hope your daughter is feeling stronger soon.

ladyinthelibrary Thu 27-Sep-12 18:00:00

Thanks for the reply Grumpla. Yes, I was wondering about the visiting arrangements. I suppose it may be different at each one though. I have full care of her almost 4yo, but will have to make a judgement at the time as to whether it's beneficial for either of them for him to visit. It's a horrible, horrible time for all of us. I just hope this is the time that she finally gets sorted out.

purplepenguin86 Fri 28-Sep-12 00:08:36

The quality of NHS psych wards varies enormously from place to place. Some are really quite good, and offer a good level of groups, support etc, whereas others don't really have anything. However, they do all provide a place of (relative) safety, which is the main thing. They will check on her regularly - anything from hourly through to constant supervision depending on how they assess her risk level. Don't expect 1-1 therapy, even in the better wards, but hopefully there will be a decent programme of group therapy and occupational therapy that she can attend, and she can talk to the nurses when she needs to. And even the crap wards can help in that they are providing you with a break - you know that whilst you are there you don't have any responsibilities or pressures etc, and that can feel quite a relief.

Visiting is usually pretty free with regards to times etc, and they will allow her more freedom as time goes on, so although at first she won't be able to leave the ward, later when you visit you may be allowed to go out with her for a walk or to get a coffee etc. Generally speaking admissions are fairly short term, but obviously that depends on the case. When she is discharged she will probably be seen by the crisis team for a period, so she won't be going from hospital to no support.

crazynanna Fri 28-Sep-12 00:12:59

I remember you lady. You had a name similar to me and so gracefully changed it eventhough I said not to smile

Just came on to offer you some love and support.

My thoughts are with you xx

Sharpkat Fri 28-Sep-12 00:16:20

Agree with purple - they vary enormously on the NHS.

Nights can be very difficult - noisy and light and with staff checking all the time and patients kicking off

Very little support during day and very little to do. Can be very isolating and you learn to live by the hours you get your meds more than anything else.

Even if your daughter has gone in voluntarily if she tries to leave and they don't think she is ready they can take out a section 3 (I think - cannot remember exactly).

Following an overdose and depending on what she took and why she took it she might be there for 1-2 weeks.

The care in private hospitals as well as the contact is much better (have done both several times unfortunately) but unless you have private medical care it is c.£5k per week.

If in London PM me as I may have more information depending on where she is.

Really hope your DD and you get through this. It is not easy and emotions run high but just remember that you love one another and need to support each other. X

Bossybritches22 Fri 28-Sep-12 00:17:59

How stressful and upsetting for you all, lady but a small comfort may be taken from the fact that she agreed to go voluntarily. (just MHO of course)

Hopefully this shows she has some insight into the fact she needs professional help.

I have had a younger brother in & out of MN units over the years, it is very hard on the family- not sure if they still do it with budget cuts but his CPN used to support my Mum as well as him.

Big hugs to you all x

fluffydressinggown Fri 28-Sep-12 01:15:10

I have been IP very recently, I am 28 and had taken an overdose before my first admission so a similar situation.

The hospital itself is a safe space.

Some patients may be very obviously unwell (talking to themselves, shouting), initially this did scare me so your daughter needs to be prepared for this. I learned to zone out the chaos around me and focus on myself which helped.

In terms of practicalities, she will be checked (obs) at different times depending on what she needs. I think hourly/30 minutes/15 minutes are the usual increments. I sometimes had someone with me all the time but that is not the norm. They will check on you as you sleep as well, it can be a bit strange to wake up to a torch shining on you so maybe warn her!

The hospital I was in had fixed visiting hours - a couple of hours in the evening on weeknights and evening and afternoon visiting on weekends, they are pretty flexible though.

Time off the ward is called leave, depending on how your daughter feels and how the hospital feels she may be able to take leave to spend time off the unit. Initially this may be with staff or yourselves for a short period of time, but it will be built up to include overnight leave. So you may not always need to visit her - you may be able to pick her up and go home or out for a meal (much nicer smile).

As an informal patient she is in a good position, sectioning can impact on travel and jobs. Be guided by the ward staff about leave, staying informal is really important IMO.

There is not a huge amount of therapy that goes on, It is pretty low key, there are TV lounges, activities (I was on a woman's unit so the activities were very female - pampering, sewing, arts, DVDs, outing to local shops).

It is not like the films, you don't sit around doing group therapy, you don't have lots of talking therapy. The nurses/healthcare assistants are there if you need to chat, you have a review with the psychiatrist once a week, you might see a psychologist once/twice a week. Nothing is really forced on you, although you are encourage to eat / drink / wash / sit in communal areas.

It is a safe space though, somewhere to think and space to try and piece things together. Somewhere where the day to day stuff is sorted so you don't have to think about cleaning the house/working etc.

I had my own room, not sure if your daughter will. I read lots of magazines, my husband bought me a Kindle, on my most recent admission I did a lot of cross stitch (in the lounge - was a good way to avoid sitting in my room all day), I watched DVDs and I had my laptop and the internet (3 dongle).

Comfy PJs, comfy clothes - I wore leggings and tunics a lot, no glass bottles or aerosols, snacky foods are good. You are not allowed leads in your room but you can take them in and they will store them and charge your phone in the office for you. I had my straighteners PAT tested and used them there. Oh and you can shave your legs and pits - sometimes they watch you, sometimes they give you 5 minutes and come up for the razor. I took my Venus razor in with me - made me feel normal you know?

You also get priority for community services so things can be put in place for discharge, and medication can be started.

I hope this is helpful, it is very long! Hospital has been a large part of my care for the past 6 months.

fluffydressinggown Fri 28-Sep-12 01:19:40

I see more people have posted smile And more succinctly than me blush

I found nights very peaceful and calm. I used to sit and sew downstairs and have the TV to myself (HAH).

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