Psychiatric hospital admission in england

  1. Please could someone explain what the admissions process is to a psychiatric unit in england, as I am supposed to be entering one in two weeks time and I am very worried. I have heard that you are searched for anything that you could use to harm yourself. Is this true?
    Thank you in advance to anyone who can help me.
    From Claire.
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    About claires

    Joined: Jun '04; Posts: 14


  3. by   hypnotic_nurse
    I am in the US, and we do have to do searches because we want to avoid anything on the unit which could be used to harm self or others. We also want to avoid any illicit drugs.

    The searches at my institution involve moving but not removing clothing and there are no body cavity searches. And the search is done by someone of the same sex as the patient. The only touching we do is patting down pants legs.

    I have never worked at a drug rehab unit, but those searches may be more extensive, I don't know.

    The people who work at my institution try to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible for the person being admitted. I am sure this is true in England as well.
  4. by   J.R.
    I had never been to England but in my place, any person who entered a psychiatric unit is searched for items that might be use by the patient to harm himself, other patient or staff, this could be anything from your bandage scissor to a piece of string, to your pen. Visitors or non medical staff are searched and advised appropriately, items are confiscated and returned after the visit, but again this would depend on the particular unit they will enter. Some units are very strict some are not. For medical staff usual precaution is always maintained, items ofcourse are not confiscated but kept away from patient and again it will depend on the unit you are in, no orifice search ofcourse. If you think that you have a lot of suicidal or violent patient like Hannibal Lecter be careful but most psychiatric patient are actually harmless.
  5. by   lucianne
    Please ignore the above remark about violent patients. You will be safe in the hospital and the staff will remove anyone who starts getting agitated.

    I'm also in the U.S. and can only speak from my own experience. At our unit, people who are admitted are asked to put on a hospital gown and their clothes are searched. We also don't do body cavity searches, but then we are a child and adolescent unit and we don't treat teens who's primary problem is chemical dependency. We also do a head to toe skin assessment, but our patients keep their gowns on and we examine individual areas without having them disrobe entirely. I can understand your anxiety and hope that this helps a little. Good luck getting help.
  6. by   claires
    Thank you for your replies :-) I have another question, which I hope you don't mind me asking. I know the unit I will be on has rooms for each patient with an ensuite, but do you know if there will be privacy? Cos I am terrified that there will be cctv in the rooms or something. Sorry, I am terrified about this whole experience cos I was abused for 10 years (I'm 18 now) and so privacy is kind of important to me...


    From Claire.
  7. by   suzanne4
    If there is cctv, it will be dependent on the facility that you are placed in.
    There are usually drapes around each bed for patient privacy, or some type of partition that can be used.

    Patient privacy is always of the utmost importance to nurses and other medical staff.

    Good luck to you.............
  8. by   hypnotic_nurse
    We don't do that on my unit. The only cameras are outside the unit so we can see who wants to come in when they ring the doorbell.

    Actively suicidal patients have someone with them at all times (except when in the toilet). Room doors don't lock, but doors to the toilet do...but every nurse has keys in case of a problem.

    At night (which is when I work) we do bedchecks each 30 minutes for all patients except those who are actively suicidal (those folks have to sleep where we can see them all night long -- not too great on our unit, it means the bed is moved out into the hall at night which makes it hard for the person to sleep because of the lights). Bedchecks means we come by with a flashlight and make sure everyone is asleep and OK.

    I think there would be terrible hygiene problems on the unit if there were cameras in the toilet or rooms -- I know I wouldn't be showering or changing clothes!! So even though I am in the US, I think it is very unlikely you'll be on TV when in your room.
  9. by   lucianne
    We don't have closed circuit TV on our unit (child and adolescent) although I know of some that do, but only in the quiet or seclusion rooms. However, if you are being admitted because of an eating disorder, the chances are that you will not have much privacy. Patients who purge have a staff member with them constantly on our unit.

    Why don't you contact the hospital and ask about policies so that you don't have to worry about what might happen and can prepare yourself for what will happen?
  10. by   Eviene
    Hi Claire, I am a staff nurse on an acute admissions unit in England. It is usually hospital trust policy to request that patients' property be searched for offensive weapons, illicit drugs, prescribed medication, and alcohol as they have the potential to cause harm to yourself and others. However, we are not police or prison officers, we have no right to demand body searches, and we do not carry them out. You will probably have to hand razors/nail scissors in for safe-keeping. These items are called 'sharps' and are retained by staff and handed out to you as and when you require them so that we can help to maintain as safe an environment as possible for everyone.
    There is unlikely to be CCTV on wards. There will be cameras on hospital grounds for security. Some wards might have a camera on the main door to allow staff to manage people coming onto the ward. You will expect to find boxes on walls/ceilings for alarms that flash, like smoke alarms. Obviously, these are a legal requirement. Hope that gives you some reassurance to use your admission constructively. Good luck.
    Last edit by Eviene on Jul 12, '04
  11. by   Eviene
    Wards in England are mixed, and you may share a dorm for part of your admission, but you will not share it with men.
  12. by   claires
    Thank you all very much for your messages. I feel a lot more reassured now. :-)

    From Claire.
  13. by   Spazzy Nurse
    I hope everything goes well for you, Claire. Take good care of yourself.
  14. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Yes--peace to you, Claire. You are taking a big step in an important journey. Things can get better. I'm glad to know you are taking the opportunity to discover this.

    Best wishes.....