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Mental health care in Sheffield - opinions?

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Hi all, I am posting under a different user name to usual as I'd rather stay anonymous.

My sister is currently on a mental health section at nether Edge Hospital,she is having quite severe paranoid deluded thoughts(my opinion not a medical diagnosis-still haven't had chance to speak to the Dr,not for want of trying).

I am really concerned for her safety,she is a danger to herself,and potentially others.She is extremely confused and angry,and frightened.I dont want to go into all the details now,as it could take hours...days! but She is not meant to leave the ward,but can just walk out if she chooses to-this really worries me, because

a.)as she is extremely vulnerable,I wait for the dreaded call that shes dead-sad but true.

b)who else,possibly in a worse state than her is also just roaming around NetherEdge/ the whole country

c) how much does it cost the police force in time and money on a national scale?

If she does leave and they happen to notice she's not there they call the police who have to go searching for her and return her to the ward.

She has had a few episodes of quite severe bizarre behaviour,for the last 10 years since our younger brother died suddenly.And a lot of the time in between she's been really stable.She has been having paranoid thoughts for last few weeks /months-not really sure as she hides it and pretends to be fine,and gets quite cross if you try to query what she says etc. She has been on medication, for the last few years,and was doing fairly o.k till spring,I think she stopped taking it sometime over spring/summer.She got taken in on a section on sept 5th,and has left twice the second time she was gone all night,and in the morning the police found her at her home and bust the door down to get her,which is now boarded up,this is likely to mean she wont get her lease renewed,endangering her future stability and security-she keeps the flat perfect,and has spent a lot of money when she was well, having it done up,and she spends the majority of her time at home, it is her sanctuary from the world.

I don't know much about the medication,or how safe/effective it is.I know they have been injecting her with medication,against her will,and she thinks they are trying to kill her.I dont know what other help care she is getting,if any.And whether the main reason for them medicating her is to help her rationalize her thoughts,or to keep her sedate and easier for them to be around her.

I have quite a few concerns,but will elaborate later,please if you have any experience in this either post here or send me a pm.

I am wondering how I can help her or find her better help,as from the conversations I have had with staff they seem pretty useless,and I am quite alarmed by this.Is there private health care for mental illness,should I be finding her the right counsel er/therapist/shrink? I don't know ?! I'm kind of at the end of my tether and just want to help her get her head back together,I don't understand her,and at times she is very hurtful,selfish and it's hard to tell if it is just her illness or if thats who she chooses to be.

I will add more later as I am really tired,but really I just want other peoples opinions on the mental health care in this unit,or England in general.Or suggestions of other therapies.

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What an awful story. You must be worried sick.

 

I can't really help, but the bit that stands out (it's quite a lengthy post) is when she stopped taking medication in the spring/summer, and went from 'fairly stable' to 'unstable'.

 

I have picked up people in cab from there and the Maple/Rowan too, and IMO some of them shouldn't be allowed to be out alone. I'm unsure of the rules though. There are posters in here that do though, and I'm sure they will reply.

 

Slightly off topic, but this has reminded me, my worst memory of such a fare. I once picked up someone from Rotherham mental health unit (inside there made prison look like a holiday), and she was permantly in psychosis. I was pleased that it was me that picked her up, and no one else. She most definitely shouldn't have been allowed out. I couldn't even leave her in the car on her own, which by modern standards, [of sue this, sue that], is out of 'taxi driving protocol' as it were(i.e 'not my problem mate'). She could have easily have been taken advantage of by me, or anyone, had she left my car whilst I was picking up the next patient from the Northern.

 

I do hope you get some responses. :)

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Hi

A friend of mine spent quite a bit of time on Burbage ward at netheredge and so I do have some understanding of how things work.

Firstly the staff are very careful when it comes to giving out info on any patient whether the person asking is a relative or not. The way round this is try and get your sister to agree that you can be her advocate which means you speak on her behalf and can ask relevant questions about her care and ttreatment.

Patients can and do go on walk about which I found totally infuriating as my friend was very vulnerable. The wards can be locked if required and they can also put the patient on constant observation which basically means a member of staff follows them around all day.

Medication sometimes has to be administered against the patients wishes which can be very distressing but is done in the best interests of the patient and not just to give the staff an easy time.

There is private care available but your sister will be under a main doctor and probably having weekly or twice weekly meetings to talk about things.

One thing I did notice was that if the patient does manage to walk out the staff don't react very rapidly and despite having my phone number I had the police contacting me before I'd even heard from the hospital. If she is at serious risk they may move her over to the intensive ttreatment wards at the Northern general they are much keener on security and don't tend to lose patients.

Oh and of course as an advocate you get to sit in and take an active part in any discussions between patient and doctor.

Hope that helps

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Dear X

 

I am so sorry to hear you and your sister are in distress. I work as a volunteer for the care trust and was a patient in 1999 at NetherEdge myself after suffering a serious mental breakdown and was experiencing Psychosis. I know what you mean about the drugs, sometimes they can make you feel terrible but to be honest, thay do help in the long run, and when someone is very disturbed, medication is needed to sedate and help with the chemical warfare in the brain.

If you would like to talk then PM me and I will give you my number and we could perhaps talk on the phone.

 

Could I say, that Sally Ross who is the chaplain on the ward on a monday and tuesday is so good, in fact excellent, and if the root of your dear sister's delusions and paranoia is related somewhat to the death of your brother, or for any other reason that she just needs a friend, support and some comfort, then suggest to your sister that she might like to get in touch with her.

 

Its hell on earth for you at the moment, but things do get better.

It wont help to get into the blaming arena, but you must be angry and frustrated. These things take time....and I pray that your rainbow appears soon!

 

Space and time for her to come back to herself and to grieve properly must happen and unfortunately there is no quick fix.

 

Hugs to you and your sister

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Also....like the above quote, the ITS (intensive treatment suite) at the Northern general is very good. It has recently been modernised and painted and is comfortable. You cannot escape from there as the doors are always code locked.

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If you can get past my ranting, there may be some useful information in this thread:

 

http://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=195253&highlight=Mental+Health+Service

 

I wish you the best - this is an awful situation for anyone to be in. Dealing with friends or family who are having a serious mental health problem is bad enough, but in my opinion it is made far far worse by the gaping holes in support and provision, probably across the whole of Britain, but certainly in Sheffield. I hope things get sorted and your sister recovers soon.

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Hi Rainydaze,

 

It looks like you're getting some useful responses here. I can't say much about the mental health care at Nether Edge but, sadly, I do know about sibling bereavement. I know this isa bit more long-term, but this book is fantastic: http://tinyurl.com/27t4nx

 

I hope your sister gets to a point where she might find it useful. If you PM me I can also recommend a great psychotherapist.

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I'm terribly sorry your sister (and you) are going through this. I have ranted at length many times about the scandalously threadbare services and ferequently poor standards in the mental health service. Although it's probably little consolation at the moment, your sister is obviously one of the lucky ones as she clearly has a close relative who cares and can keep an eye on the situation, and act as advocate if necessary. There are many thousands who have no one to look out for them, and their long term future on their own 'in the community' can be grim indeed. As you have noticed, it doesn't take much for someone's life to fall to pieces, for their home to be in danger, for the whole fabric of their world to unravel. Even though it's distressing and disturbing, keep in there. Even mundane practical support makes a hell of a difference. Whatever your concerns about your sister while she is in hospital, things may get a lot more difficult when she moves back out. You can pm me for further details, I only meant this to be a short post!

 

Meantime, there is an organisation called Rethink (google/phone book) who specialise in helping the carers of mentally ill people. Otherwise, you could try contacting SANE. For more info on them, this is a good article which explains well the inadequecies of the system. Few realise just how shockingly bad the situation is. I'm sorry to say you're just finding out. I hope things improve one way or another soon. :(

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I work at nether edge at the minute and have to say the standard of care depends which ward you're on. Out of interest which ward is your sister on?

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i really feel for you , your sister must have a cpn keep in touch, never ever be afraid to tell anyone your worst fears , fight tooth and nail for your sis and most of all good luck.

just remember she has a brother who loves her with mental health it is not a excact science so please bide your time

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i am so sorry to hear about your sister. i found mental health care in sheffield..complicated. my friend went to Oakwood which is the child mental health centre at the northern general...and it got rid of her main problem OCD but now she is sturggling with self harm and eating problems as she saw people around her with them, and as she puts it "rubbed off on her"

i found that you have to wait too long to see someone about your problems and i have seen 2 people lost to suicide with thanks to the care taking too long to be sorted.

i have had some brilliant experiences with the mental health care in sheffield though so its not all gloomy

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Hi Rainydaze, I hope your sister gets well soon. Life seems to test us all in different ways....Keep strong xx.

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