Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Isolation

I wanted to tell people more about the isolation room they have on the psych unit. It's about 6 X 9 with linoleum tile, a plastic-covered matress, linens and a locked door with a plexiglass window covered by a hand towel that's duct-taped to the door. The room is not sound-proofed so you can hear the patient raging and swearing (there is also a 1" space between the floor and the door through which patients can pee and nursing students have to clean it up (that was me)). All in all, it's pretty squalid.

The odd thing is that the room itself is located within the nurse's station. This makes some sense since the nurses can keep an eye on the closed-circuit monitors as they chart, make phone calls and deal with medicines. However, patients are put into isolation because they're psychotic and cannot handle any stimulation in addition to the raging thoughts and/or voices that are already occupying their minds. I'm surprised, then, that the room isn't soundproofed. How would you like to be psychotic and having hallucinations AND hearing muffled voices and laughter not knowing, of course, that these noises are the benign comings-and-goings of the nurse's station.

Another strange thing about the floor is the combination of patients: substance abusers (most of whom have "comorbidities" i.e. psychiatric diagnoses), schizophrenics, people receiving electroconvulsive therapy (mostly depressed people) and a smattering of demented elderly. And they all are on the same floor. Together. All day. I asked a nurse on the floor about this combination and she cannot offer any explanation whatsoever except this group includes the patients no one wants to deal with.

3 Comments:

Blogger Third Degree Nurse said...

I can't figure out your email address; I don't see it.

But that's an interesting description of the psych unit. I am not looking forward to that rotation. I once worked in an institution for lots of people who were "dually diagnosed." All had varying degrees of mental retardation; some were mentally ill as well. I've also visited patients who had shock treatments and suffered from depression. I hope they don't do that therapy as much anymore.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Ilan Muskat said...

Throw in a Dorsinville lecture and you're all set. Seriously. That is officially the way to make one's brain crawl out of one's head and perform the tarantalla.

11:03 PM  
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