Many patients have already benefited from the information in the report, so we decided to create a video that highlights our patient members’ tips and experiences. Check it out on our YouTube or Facebook page, but if you visit the latter don’t forget to become our fan!
If you want to know more about patients’ experiences with inpatient therapy, you can download the full report here. It includes even more tips and personal stories, interesting facts about the PatientsLikeMe community and a worksheet that will help you make the most out of your hospital stay. Of course, none of this would have been possible if patients like you were not willing to share. We are always eager to hear what you have to say, so please share on.
Once again, special thanks to our summer intern, Shane, for his work on the video!
(Maureen) You note in your member profile that you have been hospitalized a few times. What were those experiences like?
(Mountabora) Being in a psychiatric hospital is kind of like being at summer camp. You’re away from home, living in close quarters with strange people, and participating in structured group activities which may or may not have a purpose. There are a lot of rules, and you lose privileges if you don’t follow them. You have to get up way too early in the morning and eat three meals a day at the cafeteria.
There’s a lot of emphasis on learning coping skills, typically through classes and worksheets. There’s also a lot of emphasis on medication; most patients are on at least two or three psychoactive drugs. You go to therapy and you see a psychiatrist, but much more often than you would if you weren’t hospitalized. It’s basically a condensed version of what you’d get as an outpatient, in a controlled environment.
I’ve been treated at six different hospitals in four states over the last ten years, and I’ve had both wonderful and horrible experiences. The state hospital I went to was more like a prison than a hospital. Patients were restrained and drugged against their will, the nursing staff obviously didn’t care, and I had to wait days to see a psychiatrist and then threaten to take them to court before they’d discharge me. The private psychiatric hospitals were much better, with specially trained art, exercise, and family therapists, productive classes and groups, and lots of one-on-one time with nurses, therapists, and psychiatrists. Unfortunately, this seems to be a situation where you really do get what you pay for.
(Maureen) If you could tell other patients one thing about having a positive inpatient therapy (or hospitalization) experience, what would it be?
(Mountabora) Hospitalization is very expensive, so treat it like you would any major purchase. Discuss options with your psychiatrist and have a clear idea of why you’re going in and what you’re expecting to get out of it. Once you’re there, take full advantage of the services the hospital offers. Learn as much as you can from both staff and fellow patients, participate fully in groups and individual therapy, and make the most of the (hopefully) peaceful and structured atmosphere.
I also would recommend that anyone with a serious mental illness take some time to learn about patients’ rights in their state or country. You never know when you’ll be put into a situation where you have to advocate for yourself.
(Maureen) In a our new report, The Patient Voice on Inpatient Therapy, we summarize top themes cited by our community members regarding their positive inpatient therapy experiences. Do you have anything to add regarding these themes?
(Mountabora) I really wish hospitals would put more emphasis on coordination of care right from the start. Almost every time I’ve been hospitalized, I’ve been thrown in with an unfamiliar psychiatrist who gives me a new diagnosis and a completely different set of medications. It took a lot of painful trial and error for my psychiatrist to come up with this diagnosis and treatment plan, and I’d really rather not have to go through it all over again every time I go in to the hospital.
(Maureen) You’ve been a very active member of the PatientsLikeMe community for a while now. What do you find helpful about using the site?
(Mountabora) I like being able to keep a centralized record of my mood and treatment history that I can use as a reference or share with treatment providers. Theoretically, this information gets transferred from provider to provider, but in reality, I know that a lot of things have fallen through the cracks over the years and my quality of care depends on me being able to give an accurate account of what’s happened so far. I wish I had started this when I was first diagnosed. Maybe I wouldn’t have been hospitalized so much.
(Maureen) Thank you for sharing your story and experiences with our PatientsLikeMe community, and with the mood conditions community at-large!
Today’s patient has a loud and strong voice. At PatientsLikeMe, we hear you. You’re saying, “I know this disease, I know how it acts in the real-world, and it’s time to share that with others.”
With thousands of patients sharing data and experiences every day on our site, we’ve decided to launch a report that takes what you, the patient, knows and shares it with you, the patient community at-large. For obvious reasons, we’re calling it The Patient Voice.
The Patient Voice is a collection of wisdom, sentiments and experiences shared by patients like you regarding important issues you face today. The reports include PatientsLikeMe member tips, suggested checklists and questions to ask yourself, and real-world patient experiences, as well as some fun facts from about the PatientsLikeMe community.
The first report is from our Mood Conditions Community, representing patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD and PTSD, on the topic of inpatient therapy (or hospitalization). It’s a topic that comes up quite a bit in our forum, and patients are openly sharing their positive (and negative) experiences with one another. We’re now sharing some of the positive experiences with you. Take a look at the free report and let us know what you think. Share it with your friends and loved ones who might find it useful. And, please, join the conversation on PatientsLikeMe today. You have a voice, so let’s hear it!
At PatientsLikeMe, people with every type of condition are coming together to share their health experiences, find patients like them and learn how to take control of their health. The result is improved care for patients as well as an acceleration of real-world medical research.
Stay tuned to our blog for the latest happenings with our company, our patients and our mission of opening up the healthcare system.