August 01, 2005

Minors in Adult Psychiatric Care

Read more... Schizophrenia Housing

Putting minors into adult psychiatric facilities may put them at risk for a lifetime of mental illness. They might be over-medicated, shackled, and sexually vulnerable to the adults in the psychiatric facility. Over 1,000 minors have been put in adult psychiatric facilities within the past year.

"The culture of the service (in adult wards) is really organised around middle-aged and very disabled patients, so young people in the early stages of a mental illness get very poor care and often quite traumatic care," he said [Professor McGorry, a world leader in adolescent psychiatry]. "There are a lot of disturbed patients there and they're often secluded and injected with medications." John Mendoza, chief executive of the Mental Health Council of Australia, called for an immediate end to juveniles being admitted to adult wards" (Hart, 2005).

Mendoza went on to say that this is one of the biggest challenges that policy-makers for mental health have faced. Often the youth are put into adult facilities in which they do not recieve the care they need. On top of that, they are often traumatized by their experience in the facility. Having a bad first time experience will only keep them from wanting to ever enter a facility in the future; they will see them as scary rather than as therapeutic. Treating the mental disorder in its initial stages can be crucial for rehabilitation and for a quicker recovery.

There are not as many psychiatric services for minors, but it is recommended that one use such facilities if possible instead of adult psychiatric facilities. It is also important to judge each facility on its own merits, regardless of whether it is for children or adults. There are very good and very poor facilities for both patient groups, and many in between.

Dr. Torrey, in his book "Surviving Schizophrenia" (pp. 180-181), suggests the following for how to identify a good hospital program:

--talk to your doctor, treating psychiatrist, hospital staff, and other families who are familiar with programs in the area; ask for their recommendations and reviews of various programs

--look for a Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) accreditation. A JCAHO team, upon invitation by the hospital, surveys patient care and services, therapeutic environment, safety of the patient, and quality of staff and administration. The hospital may receive full 3-year accreditation, full accreditation with a contingency (meaning that a follow-up inspection may be warranted), or no accreditation. Bear in mind that accreditation is given to hospital as a whole, NOT to individual wards. Ask for JCAHO accreditation at the hospital administration office, or look for a certificate by the entryway or in the lobby.

--the quality of staff, first and foremost, should indicate the quality of the ward. Due to the staff, even individual wards in the same treament facility may vary in quality.

--do NOT assess quality by fees charged. Private facilities are not necessarily better than public ones. Again, evaulations of the staff at each location should guide you.

--More on finding a good hospital program (FAQ guide)

The source of this article is the Nationwide News Pty Limited, The Australian

Posted by christine at August 1, 2005 02:37 PM

More Information on Schizophrenia Housing


i have big problems with my big brother

Posted by: grace thomas at August 7, 2005 07:49 PM

i need help with my nieces violent tried to kill herself and said that she is going to kill her mother

Posted by: katjy at June 5, 2008 04:38 PM

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