Restraint and Seclusion Study
Consumer Mail Survey (Continued)
“I had the opportunity to attend activities or groups at least 3 hours per day.” False. Days went by without activities or groups. From the phrasing of this question, should I assume that somewhere it is written that you are supposed to have three hours of activities? I got nothing. Day after day. No individual therapy, no group therapy, no cooking class, no current events group, no activity. Nothing. And then there was Trudi, who got even more nothing than I did.
“I was given choices about the activities I attended.” False. I begged to be allowed to go to activities but was denied. I was told my doctor hadn’t ordered it. When I asked for my doctor, she never came.
“I felt the activities/groups helped me get better.” As previously stated, there were no activities or groups and I got worse.
“I was able to go outdoors every day for at least one hour (weather permitting).” False. I was not permitted to go out at all, weather or not.
“I was able to physically exercise three times per week.” False. I had a broken leg, but nobody else got any exercise either.
“If I had a problem or a question about my treatment, staff helped me.” I wanted to know why I wasn’t getting any treatment; the staff told me to ask my doctor; I asked for my doctor but she never came.
“I helped choose my treatment goals.” False. I was done unto and had neither choice nor opportunity to discuss it. To the best of my knowledge, there were no treatment goals for me.
“If my treatment or medications changed, a staff person explained the reasons to me.” Mightily false. I went to get the medication on which I am maintained outside the hospital and was told by the med nurse that it had been discontinued; to this day, no one has explained why.
“Staff did not talk about my treatment in front of other patients.” True. I was receiving no treatment, and the absence of treatment was not talked about.
“I could say ‘no’ to medications, and staff would respect my decision.” I was not permitted to say ‘yes’ to medication. During my previous hospitalization, the doctor put me on an appropriate antidepressant; during this hospitalization, it was denied to me. Further, the antidepressant was also the treatment for a bad case of fibromyalgia; when I requested it for that purpose, I was told by the doctor that I would have to take care of that outside the hospital. I was not allowed outside the hospital.
“The purpose and side effects of my medications were explained to me.” Nothing was explained to me; I already knew my meds and their side effects.
“Medications were not used as punishment.” I felt that withholding medication was punitive.
“If I objected to my treatment, staff listened to my concern.” I objected strenuously to my lack of treatment. I particularly remember one aide listening thoughtfully to me then asking me some questions, then sitting shaking her head. I was asking that I not be discharged without a therapist.
“If I was placed on restriction, someone explained why and how I could get my privileges back.” I was not placed on restriction; I was on the massive restriction of no passes; no one explained how I could get passes.
“I was told what I needed to do to leave the hospital.” False. I was told nothing.
“I was aware of the availability of Mental Health Legal Services to assist with my legal rights.” True.
“I could attend religious services or meet with clergy of my choice.” True.
“During a hospital stay for psychiatric care, have you ever been . . . ”
Placed in seclusion? Yes.
Placed in a camisole? No. Why don’t you call it what it is, a straightjacket?
Placed in a full sheet restraint? No. I was told that was illegal in this state.
Placed in four-point restraint? No
Placed in a vest, chair, or bed restraint? No
Other restraint? No
“If yes to any of the above . . . ” It was a quarter of a century ago and I’ve forgotten the details but I was put in seclusion because I was suffering from pre-menstrual syndrome.
Despite my written request, neither Commissioner Clarence Sundram nor anyone else from the NYS Commission on Quality of Care ever responded to my “Notes on a Hospitalization” or any other thing.