• Welcome! It’s great to see you. Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

Really Concerned Friend been Sectioned - Advice Please

F

FlakeyDove

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2008
Messages
6
Hi

New on here and really sorry to start off asking for help but I don't know what to do. It's on behalf of a friend of mine and is rather a long story I'm afraid so please bear with me.

My friend is in her late seventies and has lived with MS for some 15 to 20 years. Her husband died around 13 years ago and she has coped admirably in spite of limited mobility.

Unfortunately around 10 weeks ago she had a fall in her flat and fractured her upper arm. As she walked with 2 sticks this left her immobile. She was in hospital for 5 weeks, the first four weren't too bad as she was in a women's gynae ward and people were coming and going - and going in a better state than they arrived. She was then moved to a supposed 'rehab' ward. Unfortunately this was more a geriatic ward and she was in a ward with people receiving what can only have been palliative care.

This was the point her mental health started to decline. Her biggest fear is ending up in a institution for the rest of her life with (I quote) "a load of dribbling imbeciles")

She then spent one week in a private nursing home and a week in an NHS one. It's not clear if they discharged her or she discharged herself but she eventually returned home.

By this stage she had lost all confidence in her ability to cope with anything, to get around, or to look after herself. She lives in sheltered housing. Once she got home she went to bed, but was pulling the emergency cord every few minutes which was putting the staff under strain. They kept calling doctors (she saw five different Doctors in about 60 hours) at the end of which she was Sectioned.

That was a nightmare - not least because she had agreed to go voluntarily but they wouldn't let her - but I won't go into it as this is long enough already.

She's been there 2 weeks and now we come to the crux of my post. How on earth do they think this is helping her? She is now on an 'Elderly Mental Health' ward. I think the majority of the patients have dementia. So her biggest fear seems to have come true and (due to the section) she feels she will be there long term.

My friend is extremely sharp, but she has lost all confidence, is extremely anxious and depressed. She wants to die and often asks me to put a pillow over her head.

I got there a couple of days ago and she was absolutely in floods of tears. It turned out that they were going to give her a bath (for the first time since admission 12 days previously :mad:). I sat with her for ah hour while she cried and fretted. She told me that the nurse - actually the Ward Sister - was a bully and she did not want to be bathed by her.

After about an hour and a half I was told to leave as it was bath time. The sister wheeled my friend to the bathroom. Outside of which I had parked my bicycle and hence heard what went on while I unlocked it. It was extremely distressing.

My friend was crying "how can I get in there? I can't get in there". Due to her MS she has very limited movement in one leg. The nurse just ignored her apart from to occasionally shout "Get your clothes off". My friend was still crying and saying she couldn't get into the bath. Eventually I heard a bang (suspect nurse banged something against the side of the bath) and a shout of "Stop behaving like a child". Then "Get your clothes off". I could still hear my friend crying but she was obviously undressing because the next thing I heard was the nurse saying "Are you undressed? Are you undressed?" My friend said no, she still had her bra on. The nurse demanded to know why and my friend said that because of the stiffness in her recently broken arm she couldn't undo it. This sounded rational to me but the nurse then shouted "Why are you talking like that" then virutally made my friend beg to be helped out of the bra.

I left then because I didn't know what to do and it was just so upsetting.

But what can I do? Is this normal for a psychiatric ward? When has shouting at someone with depression/anxiety ever been helpful? I feel that the nurse's behaviour was totally unacceptable? Am I right to feel that? I've said to my friend that I won't report it unless she asks me to as I fear that by reporting it it could make things worse. But again what can I do? People have said to me that my friend is "in the right place now" but how can I believe that after what I overheard.

Really sorry to pile on here with such a long post. Thank you to anyone who has read this far and to anyone with any suggestions.

Sam
 
daffy

daffy

Well-known member
Moderator
Founding Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
13,935
Location
hiding behind the sofa
How distressing for your friend. Its most unacceptable if the staff have behaved like that. Whenever ive been in the staff have always been helpful. But i have heard that geriactric nusing staff can get quite exasperated and shout because they seem to think all elderly people are deaf.!

I would find out from your friend who the nurse on duty was and report her. She may have been having a bad day but thats no excuse to verbally abuse a patient.

My mum is in her eighties with the beginnings of dementia and i would hate to think that she was treated like that
 
Hazard

Hazard

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 30, 2008
Messages
63
Location
Birmingham/Flintshire
Whichever way you look at it, no. That sort of behaviour from a person in a position of responsibility is totally unacceptable. If your friend isn't getting the treatment she needs, or is being treated this way, then she's not in the right place

Some people don't understand the problems your friend has, they see it as "beneath them" in some way, or are afraid of it, and feel as though they don't have to treat the person with respect. It's probably the only power they have in their lives

If you do decide to report it, write the incident down and ask the place for a copy of their complaints procedure.

:grouphug:
 
D

Dollit

Guest
It's unacceptable and unethical and should be reported. I know that it's difficult but when your friend does go back home that nurse is still there with vulnerable people.

The experience your friend has had by breaking her arm and losing her mobility is depressing for her and has made her lose her confidence and that's harder to get back when you get older. She's probably scared of doing it again and will be apprehensive of what this means.

Support her and love her and please do something about the nurse.
 
F

FlakeyDove

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2008
Messages
6
Thank you all for taking the trouble to reply and so quickly. The support is really appreciated. :flowers:

I'm just back from visiting my friend and she's still very distressed. She's had another fall this morning and hurt her left arm so now can hardly take weight on either arm.

Dollit you are so right about what has happened and the loss of confidence. Another of her friends has also told me that she has been nervous and anxious about baths for a long time which makes the nurse's behaviour even worse.

Trouble is my friend (I'll call her B as it's quicker to type) doesn't want it reported. She feels that it will make things worse and "you just have to do what they say in here because they squash you and squash you".

But given your responses I am going to talk initially to the Patient Liaison Service tomorrow. Though there might be things I don't know - B's behaviour can be 'challenging' to say the least - your comments have made me feel more secure in raising the issue.
 
B

Broken Spirit

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
16
Hi FlakeyDove

I think you have been given some sound advice on this forum, & i do hope for your friend`s sake you do raise your concerns. Its better to talk them over with someone in a calm manner & have your mind put at ease than it is to keep worrying. A good tip someone gave me when i was in a similar situation, was to take a small notebook with you & write down what they were saying & in particular to make sure you ask for their names. I was amazed at the difference in attitude when you were taking notes. Another person i found particularly helpful was the support worker for carers, relatives & friends,all mental health areas have one. Mine was an absolute gem & gave me so much information, contacts & phone numbers. I also appreciate what you are saying about some patients being challenging & it is difficult to know if things really are as bad as your friend says or if it is her illness making her see things differently. I would say trust your own judgement, you know what you heard, & let the staff know that you are not under their care & control & that you will speak up if you witness any unacceptable behaviour.
 
H

homegirl

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2008
Messages
21
Location
south west england
I am appalled.
This eldery friend of your needs needs care and support not terrorism. Unfortunately nursing people with dementia is very difficult but your friend doesnt have dementia and shouldnt be on this ward.
Somebody needs to take a stand for this lady, even if it is quiet word in the nurses ear.
I would talk to PALS and ask their advice. The behavious is totally unacceptable.
Your friend may recover and be able to go home but think of other people who enter that hell hole.

Can you friend not be placed in a convalescing home while she waiting for her arm to heal and can not social services set up carers to help her and enable her to get back into her own home. They will help to build her confidence up.

Also - I suspect as your friend is "sharp" and not a "dribbling imbecile" she is kicking back in her own way, were others who go into this ward reply to the orders and commands of the "SS". How can somebody nurse and call this sort of behaviour caring. I know dealing with people with dementia is stressful
but I would hate to think my mother or father were in a place like that.
Get help - and advice and follow it through for the sake of your friend and those who follow.
 
Top