Although it is not the family’s responsibility to prevent injuries of their loved ones who are patients in a psychiatric hospital, being proactive is certainly preferred over dealing with an injury that could have been prevented. To assist you with this, we have gathered a few preventive techniques for the family to think about before and after admittance of a love one to a psychiatric hospital.
#1 Take a Tour
Frequent tours of the psychiatric hospital that your loved one is a resident in may turn up unnoticed or unrecognized hazards. This is an opportunity to get to know the staff that will care for your loved one. Additionally, during your tour, you may discover bad habits by staff that could lead to injury, such as them leaving doors open. This may seem innocent enough to let in fresh air, but unsupervised patients could go out that door and get injured or harm themselves while not supervised.
A study by Dr. Isaac Sakinofsky found that “The bulk of inpatient suicides actually occur not on the ward but off premises, when the patient was on leave or had absconded” (escaped). What better opportunity to escape than through an open door? Although his study was about how to prevent suicide, the preventive measures in the paper could be used to prevent injuries, as well. All threats of suicide by patients must be taken seriously and prevention methods set in place. Not only should dangerous objects be kept away from patients, but improved patient visibility, increased patient supervision (this can be aided by family visits, as well), and good communications between the family and the staff should be implemented immediately.
#2 Interview Staff
Talking with and getting to know the staff who care for your loved one is a great way to show you care and it lets them know you will be watching to ensure they are cared for properly. Ask the nurses what they do to prevent slips and falls, since these are the most frequent cause of inpatient injuries, also bed sores and medication mismanagement. In one wrongful death case, it was discovered that the patient had been given 10 times the prescribed dose of medicine. What are the standard operating procedures in place to prevent these mishaps?
#3 Chat with Patients
Talk to the residents, although the believability of a psychiatric hospital inpatient may be suspect, just looking at their overall condition is an indication of their treatment.
#4 Read Reviews
The patients’ families will oftentimes leave comments on hospital review sites, such as Yelp and Psych Ward Reviews. Psych Ward Reviews is a former patient’s realization of a Yelp type review for psychiatric hospitals. The patient who started the website was denied food and water because she asked the staff for an alternative to pharmaceutical medication. As of November 2016, the site had reviews of 88 hospitals that can be searched by city or hospital name and most of these are reviews by former inpatients. Not all psychiatric patients are incapable of formulating rational thoughts and many know when they are being overmedicated or mistreated.
#5 Visit Often
Although it may seem inconvenient to visit the institution several times before deciding, it will give you a feeling of how convenient the visit will be from both a travel standpoint and from the standpoint of the welcome you receive from the staff. Naturally, the staff will do everything to make you feel welcome on your first announced visit, but how they treat you on repeat visits may be a better indicator of how they treat their patients on a day-to-day basis. If they are not welcoming to visitors, imagine how they treat the people they deal with every day.
Often the patients who are abused or neglected are those who do not have family visitors. A devious staff member, vendor, or another patient may believe no one is watching the patient and they are easy prey for abuse or molestation.
Get Legal Help for Personal Injury or Mistreatment
If you or one of your loved ones has been injured, neglected, molested, or abused in a psychiatric hospital, which led to serious injury or wrongful death, call GreeningLaw, PC (972) 934-8900. Robert Greening is a personal injury lawyer, who represents victims only on a contingency basis. Many personal injury lawyers do not accept contingency cases because if they lose they will not get paid. Robert Greening says, “…we only expect payment when we successfully obtain financial compensation on your behalf.” That statement speaks volumes about the confidence of this team.
When you accept GreeningLaw for legal assistance on a contingency basis, you pay nothing upfront to receive representation. Working out of our office in Dallas-Fort Worth, Greening and his associates provide professional representation to our clients who have suffered negligence or abuse. We pay the expenses involved with your claim, so can start the healing process without stress. When you receive compensation, the firm is reimbursed for expenses and then the previously agreed upon percentage of the award is the attorney’s fee. Therefore, there are no surprises or hidden fees.
We fight the legal battle, so you have time for healing and renewal.