The Psych Ward – March 2018

Photo credit: Protonotarios on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

This post is a continuation of the one I wrote yesterday, entitled The Psych ER – March 2018.

After they obtained a bed for me in the psych unit, I was suddenly back in a wheelchair and brought there. If you’ve read my post, In the Psych Ward, then you know that my last hospitalization was at ECT Hospital (where they perform my ECT treatments when I need them), and that the unit is swanky. I got a few details wrong in the post, so I’ll correct them here. In this post, I’ll describe the ward and its “amenities.”

I was wrong about there being carpeting — there isn’t any except in the day rooms. The corridors, therapy rooms, and dining room are all tiled. The individual rooms have a wood-looking floor, but I’m pretty certain it isn’t wood. It’s like a tile made to look like wood. In this post, I’ll describe the actual psych ward.

MY ROOM: . . . didn’t look as clinical as the one in the photo, but I couldn’t find a comparable image. Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, I had a single room instead of one of the 2 doubles, so I didn’t have a roommate. The room contained a bed on wheels, though it didn’t have rails (it was in the center of the room), and a bureau with a shelf instead of drawers next to it. There was a closet on which I could store my clothes on shelves.

Next to the closet was a cushioned window seat, and next to that was a long desk made of what looked like marble, but which I doubt was actually marble because people could probably hurt themselves on it. There was a cushioned chair with arm rests at the desk.

On the wall across from my bed was a mural of a field of wildflowers. I kind of wanted to sneeze every time I looked at it because of my seasonal allergies lol! The unit overall was decorated with murals of nature scenes.

The sink and counter was in one corner of the room. There was a mirror that looked like it was made of glass, but I’m sure it wasn’t. I don’t know what it was made of though, and I forgot to ask. On the wall next to the sink were a few shelves for your toiletries.

The bathroom was next to the sink. It had a door, a toilet, and a shower. You pressed a button in the shower, and the water would come on for about 5 minutes, so if your showers are longer than that, you have to keep pressing the button. I made it a race to see how quickly I could shower and press the button as few times as possible. Fortunately, the water was a good, warm temperature.

Next to the bathroom and across from the side of the bed was the door. Obviously, you couldn’t lock it from the inside, but staff could lock it from the outside. Within the door was a second door that you couldn’t open from inside the room, and that they kept locked. At night, they opened this door so they can peek in on you when staff did their rounds every 15 minutes, and not wake you up.

My room had windows, but inches from the actual glass were frames containing some sort of unbreakable glass, so that obviously you couldn’t hurt yourself.

THE DINING ROOM: There’s a dining room they keep locked except during meals, which were at 8:00 AM, 12:00 PM, and 5:00 PM, and during snack time at 10:00 AM, 3:00 PM, and 8:30 PM. They definitely don’t cheat you on food! Snacks were optional.

The 2 earlier snack times consisted of graham or regular crackers stored in a drawer, or anything you might have saved from a meal and stored in the full-size refrigerator. There’s a machine that dispenses coffee, decaf espresso, and decaf coffee, and another that dispenses ice and cold or hot water.

During the last snack time, they offer sandwiches that consist of cold cuts (turkey, ham, roast beef) or cheese or peanut butter and jelly for the vegetarians. These also come with grapes. I didn’t usually partake in snack times, but I sometimes went just to hang out with other patients.

PATIENT LAUNDRY ROOMS: There are 2 patient laundry rooms, in which we could do our laundry. You have to ask a staff member to unlock these rooms for you.

I haven’t done laundry in years, and wasn’t about to start again in the hospital. My husband would bring me clean clothes during visiting hours, and I’d send my dirties home with him.

MEDITATION ROOM: They have an enclosed meditation room that a staff member has to unlock for you. I didn’t use it, but I saw it. There’s a sofa with a weighted blanket, which apparently is good for anxiety (I may have to get one!); a TV screen that plays relaxing music and displays nature scenes; aromatherapy; and the only lights are colored, and gradually switch from one color to the next. Because of these lights, some of the other patients and I called it the party room lol!

DAY ROOMS and PHONES: There are 2 day rooms, each of which contains a TV. Whatever program we watch has to be a consensus among the patients. There are a few armchairs, and cushioned benches along the wall. There are also regular chairs with arm rests, identical to the one in my room, and tables where you can play games or do jigsaw puzzles. The walls without the benches and TV are made of some type of glass that’s unbreakable, and through which staff can see you. The main day room, which is closest to the main nursing station near the entrance to the ward, also had 2 computers on which we could check e-mail, surf the Internet, etc. We could only use them for 10 minutes each, and they were unlocked only at the top of the hour.

A smaller day room was also near the main nursing station. It contained chairs, but only a computer. No TV.

There were 4 phones on the unit that we could use at the top of the hour. These were located near the day rooms.

GYM: Near one of the 2 therapy rooms, is a gym that had a stationary bike, and several treadmills and ellipticals. Patients could use these during open gym times. Because we couldn’t have shoelaces, there were gym shoes you could borrow from the unit, since there was always a staff member monitoring gym times.

THERAPY ROOMS/VISITING AREA: As I mentioned above, there are 2 therapy rooms. Most of the groups are held in either a smaller room that has tables — usually for recreational/occupational therapy. The other is in a larger room that also doubles as the visiting area in the evenings.

This pretty much sums up ECT Hospital’s psych ward. As you can probably tell, it’s a large unit that holds 20 patients. It doesn’t sound too bad, and compared to other wards I’ve been hospitalized in, it isn’t. I think it also helps that it was newly remodeled about 5 years ago. It looked and had the same “amenities” as when I stayed there in 2014.

My next post will discuss what the days were like. Thanks for reading!

Does this unit sound like any in which you’ve been hospitalized?

via Daily Prompt: Suddenly

13 thoughts on “The Psych Ward – March 2018

  1. You are so observant. Why was it that the staff could lock your rooms from the outside? On all hospital units I’ve stayed on, you could in fact lock your room from the inside but staff obviously had a master key. On the locked unit, we didn’t have keys to our room, so staff could lock you out but not in. On all open wards, we had a key to our room. Here in the Netherlands, you aren’t supposed to be locked in your own room and any seclusion happens in the time-out room or isolation room.

    It’s also interesting that the staff make rounds every fifteen minutes at night on your ward. On the locked unit, staff only did rounds twice a night and on the open wards, only when it was in your treatment plan that staff had to check on you at night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe the laws are different here? For one thing, the unit I stayed in didn’t have an open ward; I think most units in the state of Illinois only have locked wards. At least that’s been my experience in the different hospitals I’ve stayed in.

      At this particular hospital, I don’t know whether or not there’s a time-out room, but I think there isn’t or they would have showed it to me when they gave me the tour.

      Maybe they did rounds fewer than every 15 minutes at night, I don’t know, but during the day they do them every 15 minutes to see if you’re in group therapy.

      Liked by 1 person

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