New staff and environment needed at Psychiatric Emergency at St Joseph's Hospital

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I recently had an experience at the psychiatric emergency service (PES) at St. Joseph's Hospital, Charlton campus, in Hamilton, Ontario. I want to discuss the horror that is this facility and how it should be fixed.

This area is meant to triage vulnerable patients struggling with their thoughts, emotions and behaviours due to a wide variety of mental illnesses. They then triage patients to different inpatient services or facilities in an attempt to help them. The PES environment is supposed to be supportive and therapeutic but is cold, hostile and fear inducing. 

At PES they fail to treat each patient as an individual and instead treat them as a population: "crazy person #_________". The way they treat their patients is absolutely despicable.

Seclusion is when they lock a patient's room's door for poor behaviour. These rooms have bugs, incredibly dirty mattresses, no food and no water (unless you beg for it). Not to mention they put people in seclusion who do not belong there. These people could be in there for hours, getting covered in the filth and grime. All the rooms are similar in their filth. People sleep on matresses on the floor in other rooms and wont be listened to even if they aren't secluded. 

Staff mock patients for their differences and it is audible from the nurse's station. They make patients feel unheard and more "crazy" - mental health should not be seen as insanity but someone struggling who is seeking salvation. 

There are other rooms that have holes in the walls, poorly covered up graffiti, broken chairs and filth stemming from the floor to ceiling. 

When someone wants to go somewhere to talk to somebody about the mental stress they've been experiencing, they should NOT go to PES. At the moment this is the primary option for psychiatric triage to any hospital/unit geared toward mental health, leaving many no choice. 

I am afraid that if future vulnerable patients who are struggling with their thoughts, behaviours and emotions go to PES, their symptoms (suicidal thoughts, self harm, anger, etc.) will be exacarbated.

FOR NEXT STEPS: PES should look into getting new staff and renovating the facility. They should deep clean the rooms, repaint walls, fix holes in the walls and use real hospital beds as opposed to mattresses that are either on the floor or what seems like a cement block. Nurses should ask what the patients need in terms of their condition rather than assuming and making errors in the process. It needs to change immediately.

A clean, helpful PES would improve Hamilton's mental health status drastically.

PLEASE sign this petition if you have either seen the deplorable conditions of PES at St Joseph's as a patient or family member or you read this and felt compelled to make a difference to a mental health facility that is furthering mental health issues.

Thank you. 



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