"Safety, solace and recovery"
About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health (inpatient) Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Adult mental health (inpatient) NG3 6AA Priory Group Limited Priory Group Limited London W14 8UD
Posted by KeepSwimming (as ),
I recently suffered with my mental health and ended up as an informal patient at a local hospital on their acute mental health ward at Calverton Hill. I was feeling very vulnerable and distressed and didn't know quite what to expect. I spent just over three weeks on the ward before returning home.
There is no doubt that the priority was my personal safety, making sure that I was given the time and space to allow me to recover enough to return home and that was certainly achieved. I was lucky to have my own room and toilet/ washing facilities, along with a communal lounge. I was thoroughly checked over by a doctor and nurse on my arrival and it was made clear that all the staff were there to provide support.
Unfortunately this was not the case. Arriving on a ward like this was distressing, with very little information about what was happening, what was expected of me and I felt I had very little control over my life. When I was distressed, some staff were fantastic, supportive, ready to listen and proactive. However, many of the staff seemed to be either distracted by those patients with greater needs or simply disinterested in the patients, particularly in the evenings.
I had to ask for my care plan to be completed, and this felt like a copy and paste exercise from other patients' plans and included numerous errors. I raised this twice with the nurse but it seems I was expected to try and catch them to identify the errors, rather than this being their responsibility. I received this plan a week before I was discharged due to 'an issue with the printer in the office'. Only later on, relying on the support of my family and friends, did I feel sufficiently able to voice my concerns, but many of the actions requested by the consultant in the ward rounds were not followed through. For example, I had stated that I found it helpful to have 1:1 conversations as talking therapy, following the support I had received from my local crisis team (who were fantastic). The doctor requested that every day I have a 20 minute 'slot' for discussion with any member of staff. This did not happen once in all the time I was there.
Bags were not thoroughly checked and I have no doubt that I could have further harmed myself had I decided to do so. I admit I did at times take in my own painkillers to help me manage pain and this was not noticed by the staff. Being awoken by a light every two hours as part of safety checks led to my first migraines in over a year. I asked for this to stop but unless I placed a note outside my room, this practice continued. These are just a few examples of numerous concerns and issues with my care.
Those of us who feel vulnerable are often withdrawn and unable to ask for help. Being placed in an environment that was unstructured, disorganised and at times felt uncaring made me feel angry and frustrated. I felt that because I was quiet and slept, little effort was made to engage with me or support me, and the quality of support I received depended very much on who I was dealing with.
Keeping someone safe involves more than leaving them to sleep quietly in a risk assessed environment, monitoring and managing things purely from a pharmaceutical perspective. There was little treatment on offer that differed from strategies I was already trying and I felt no attempt to work towards a discharge other than a reliance on my own determination to get out as quickly as possible. My appointment with the psychologist was due to take place on the day of my discharge.
I hope that things improve very soon for the lovely people who are left on the ward and am grateful to the few good staff who helped make my stay more bearable. In my feedback, I've asked if I can speak to the hospital about my care.