My plain life

trying something different

Gruesome — July 16, 2016

Gruesome

Day Six

On arriving on the ward, Jack thought to himself that it is such a beautiful afternoon, why do I have to be coming into work? Why can’t I be at home chilling in the garden with his wife, having a cold beer?

Today Jack is working in a hospital south of Birmingham, working on a ward that is for female adult admissions, with a number of different diagnoses. It could range from things like eating disorders, alcoholism, hearing voices, just to name a few things on the ward. The ward is called The Firns, Acute Emergency Admissions.  Jack has in the past worked here before, but it has been a while, it must have been about three to four months. Since Jack has worked here the last time, things have changed a little. As in change, it is just the staffing has changed for a younger bunch of people. It appears that some of the older staff are no longer around. It could be, they have left for better things, moved wards or even retired. In environments like this, a staff change around can go one of two ways. A good way, as in the patients find it good, or a bad way as in it could unsettle the patients as some cannot deal with change.

Back to the story. With Jack walking onto the Firns, he sees the staff room and unlocks the door with his keys he collected from the receptionist. The door is heavy to push open as it is a thick fire door. Dropping off his bag off in the staff room he notices a free locker with a key in the lock. Jack places his wallet and mobile phone in the locker for safe keeping, as mobiles are not allowed in the clinical area. As he locks away his belongings he scans around the room. Jack notices a cheap coffee dispenser, chocolate machine, to the left of him is about four two seater sofas that look like they were saved from the 70’s. Also, there is a few cupboards basic white and a not so nice sink. Jack checks himself out in the mirror just before he goes in the office. Thinking to himself “looking presentable” he turns right and heads out the door. Opening the office door Jack walks in and greets the staff members sitting at the computers typing away madly. The staff swivel around in their chairs and greet Jack with a smile and the nurse furthest away asks

“Are you Jack”?

“Indeed, nice to meet you” replies Jack.

“Nice to have you here, I’m Sara, one of the nurses in charge”

Jack sits down while Sara is talking, giving Jack a detailed handover about the four patients they have on the ward. Three of the other patients have gone home on leave and may even get discharged when they come back. So they have a four relatively new patients. The one Jack has to pay attention to is a patient called Tabitha, known as Tabi. She is being nursed on a 1:1 nursing care plan due to her aggressive behaviour towards others. Tabi is an 18-year-old girl that has had a rough upbringing due to her mum and dad.

Tabi was subjected to witnessing lots of violent behaviour from her father and her mum. Then witnessing her mum stab, the father, a number of times on numerous occasions over a period of four to five years. The father had made Tabi kick and beat her mum after he had given her mum a real beating. He would brag Tabi by the arm roughly leaving bruises and drag her to her mum and demand, screaming at the top of his voice to kick her hard, stamp on her and punch her in the face. On the chance that Tabi did not obey her father’s commands he would take off his belt and whip Tabi with it.

There was one occasion when Tabi was sitting at the top of the stairs when she saw her mum came flying through the lounge door. Her mum had landed on her back with what looked like a mask of red paint on her face. Suddenly Tabi realised it was blood coming from a cut above her eye and nose, she had got from when her dad had punched her with his fist. Tabi saw her dad come bounding through the doorway over to her mum laying on the floor and then put his boot in a couple of times in the chest and stomach. As he continued to kick and then stamp on her, Tabi suddenly stood up while at the top of the stairs and had a huge smile on her face but still looking evil. The father noticed that Tabi smiling at the top of the stairs and demanded that Tabi should come down the stairs and do what he is doing. With this the father said

“You never know Tabi you may enjoy it”.

While saying this to Tabi, he grabbed his belt as if to gest as if he would beat her with it. Tabi stood there at the top of the stairs looking vacant and glassy eyed but still smiling. Tabi suddenly could not hear his father demanding and shouting at Tabi as she stares at her mum as she screams in agony every time the father’s foot connects with the mum’s body. Tabi starts to walk down the stairs vacantly, firstly looking at the father while he screams at Tabi, but still not actually hearing his voice. Then Tabi looks over at her mum who is now curled up on her left side screaming at every kick. As Tabi is walking down the stairs, it feels like the whole world has suddenly gone into slow motion. Once Tabi reaches the bottom of the stairs the father grabs hold of Tabi by the scruff of her neck who is standing in front of her mum, but still remaining deaf to his screams. The father raises his hand above her and brings it down slapping her around the back of her head.

Feeling her head shake Tabi now hears her mum scream and cry

“Tabi, what have you done? You killed him”

Tabi then realises she had blanked out while standing there and sees her mum crouching over the father and he had collapsed on the floor and lays on his side. The mum moves and Tabi sees a small metal object sticking out of his stomach oozing blood. Tabi just stands there watching the blood spill out onto the wooden floor.

Tabi says “He had it coming anyway, if not me it would be someone else” in a hardened deep voice.

Suddenly Tabi realises that she had no recollection of what had just happened to her dad. She had lost about five to ten minutes and could not account for anything. Tabi started thinking to herself,

“What happened”? And with that, she drops to her knees and lands in the blood oozing out of her dad and starts to cry.

Whilst Tabi is kneeling in his blood she hears a voice all around her saying “it’s OK now you’re safe”. Looking around to see who said that she says to her dad who is looking unconscious and says “What”?

In a questioning tone, Tabi’s mum says to Tabi “Who are you talking to”?

“Him “replies Tabi.

“But Tabi, he didn’t say anything, ” says the mum.

Then Tabi blankly looks down to the floor and starts to rub her hands through the pool of blood that has gathered on the floor where she is kneeling, with a vacant look on her face, grinning from ear to ear but at the same time starts to cry.

This is where all the violent thoughts and voices she starts to hear and the killing of little animals. The thing is if you grow up with evil and violence all around you that is the life you will start to live violence to protect yourself. Due to what happened to he, she was admitted to an emergency care order to a low secure child’s unit but due to the ongoing aggression, she has displayed in her unit due to finding herself getting close to staff. The aggression is to stop her getting hurt by people that care as it has happened so much in the past. Now she was transferred to a medium secure unit, The Firns. Tabi was transferred on a section 3, which means Tabi is detained under the mental health act for treatment. Her last placement could not manage the amount of aggression she was displaying so they transferred her to the Firns.

Jack walks onto the ward and walks over to Tabi and introduces himself to her. With a smile on his face and greets her

“Hi I’m Jack and I’ll be your nurse for the next few hours”, doesn’t cost to be nice to anyone.

Tabi looks Jack up and down with a look of disgust and mistrust. With this Tabi says in an angry tone to Jack,

“You look like my dad, he was a fucking Twat”.

“Sorry for the way I look, but you can blame my parents for that”. Responds Jack.

Tabi responds to this with a little smirk and says “Your OK, you’re funny”.

“At the end of my time with you, you will probably still think I’m a Twat” and smiles back at Tabi.

Then Jack sits down next to her at the dining table and watches Tabi play cards, Solitaire. Tabi sits there playing cards and every now and again looking at Jack, to which he has noticed but says nothing. In an intimidating tone, Tabi asks Jack,

“Did you get a full hand over about me”? As if it was a scary thing to hear, but this did not bother Jack, nothing new to hear. To play down the question Jack says to Tabi,

“Yes I have had a full handover and I know what you can and can’t do or have” and leaves it there.

Much to the disappointment of Tabi but acknowledging his response with a smile and carries on with her card game. After about twenty minutes Tabi turns to Jack and asks him for a book to read but in a more submissive tone,

“Can I have a book to read”? Smiling at Jack.

Jack turns around and calls a member of staff, Tabi looks at Jack as in why are you calling him over? Jack had noticed the look and automatically tells Tabi,

“I called her so she can get it while you are playing cards, that’s all”. Tabi gives a nod as in acceptance. Tabi asks for a book called Silence of the Lambs, and the staff member goes off to get it. To Jack he thinks is this a suitable book for a young lady that has violent outbursts but who is he to question the regulars? Five minutes later the staff member returns with Tabi’s book and gently throws it onto the table. Jack thanks the nurse for the book. Clearing up the cards Tabi heads off to the lounge area. Once entering the lounge Tabi and Jack sit in the lounge on one of the sofas. Due to the care plan, Jack has to sit next to Tabi within arm’s length. Arm’s length is because for the protection of others as in staff and patients. Tabi opens the book a third of the way through and starts concentrating on the book. Jack in a secretive way manages to read the back of the book and wonders if this book is good for a person of her mental issues. Whilst Tabi sits there reading her book, Jack watches TV but keeps an eye on Tabi. One of the patient’s starts to put a DVD on and now Jack find himself half watching 50 first dates. To be honest the film is a good and funny. Every now and again Jack does look over at Tabi and notices that she has an unnerving grin on her face while reading her book.

All of a sudden Tabi stands up and dropping her book to the side of her and hitting the floor. Tabi turns her head and gives Jack a vacant and blank look. The sort of look that is vacant, but if you touch me I’ll kill you, sleep walking. With this look, chills run down Jacks’ spine as it feels spooky and spine-chilling. Like a robot under the control of someone else Tabi turns her head and faces forward, then she gives an almighty scream and runs at the wall head first but aiming for the wall at the other end of the corridor.  Tabi gives out an almighty cry, scream and runs at the wall head first, like a charging bull. With this Jack jumps up and runs after Tabi along with another staff member. They both reach her and restrain her just as she is about to make contact with the wall and end up on a head on the floor. With the force of the two staff she stops dead in her tracks. With this Tabi loses her footing, with her body weight she loses footing and drops her weight pulling the staff and her to the floor. By this time other staff have come out of the office and see the two staff crumpled on the floor holding Tabi. The responding staff assist Jack and help take hold of Tabi in restraint and assist her in sitting up as she no longer is fighting with staff. Jack picks himself up and gets himself together, then he sits back next to Tabi as she is on the floor in holds with staff.

With this, Tabi has tears rolling down in her face and turns her head and apologises for her actions but she did not mean any harm towards anyone. With Jack sitting next to her on the floor he consoles Tabi and tells her that it is OK and there is no need for apologies. With this Jack looks at Tabi and says,

“You OK, do you want to talk about what’s going on”.

Tabi nods “Yes please” with tears running down her face.

Jack looks over at the two staff holding Tabi, giving them a nod as in nonverbal to let go of their holds. The two staff holding her let go of their holds but moving away so they are safe. The two staff move away a little, this is just so if anything unto wards happens the staff can step in for assistance. Tabi gets comfortable on the floor and sits next to Jack who is sitting next to her on the floor, leaning against the wall. Jack asks Tabi,

“So what happened”?

Tabi explains that she was reading her book, The Silence of the Lambs, and it got her having violent, gory, bloody thoughts and also got her aroused. Tabi had actually found herself getting excited with the violent action in the book that she was reading. When she started getting excited she blanked out then come to again and found that she had thoughts of killing animals or people. With these thoughts, she realised she had possibly killed animals in the past as her thoughts were so graphic. But these thoughts did excite her as well as upset her. In the past when she felt like this the voices would start to come back to her and they sounded like her dad, saying,

“Your worthless, you’re a naughty child. Look what you have done” with this she realises that she is not right in the head. Tabi explains that she is realising that watching and reading about violence excites her.  With this, her emotions and feelings plus her thoughts all over the place it gives Tabi violent ideas that are strong and because it excites her she wants to act upon her feelings, emotions or urges. Tabi explains to Jack that they are only urges and feelings, even though they excite her she is fighting not to act on them, plus she knows it is wrong too as well.

While Jack continues to sit and talk to Tabi, she turns to face Jack and says to him

“can I explain something to you please”?

“Of course, you can” replies Jack.

“I don’t want you to get frightened,” says Tabi.

Jack looks at Tabi wondering what she is going to say. Is this the point Jack should be worried and be prepared for something? Tabi looks at Jack then she looks down at the floor and then starts to tell Jack about her thoughts and urges. Tabi explains that because Jack looks like Tabi’s violent father, she wants to hurt Jack but this is due to the voices in her head.

“Ok,” Jack replies trying to look unnerved by this.

“I’m not going anywhere; you can tell me what you need too,” says Jack.

Jack explains to Tabi that he will sit there and listen to her and no matter what she says the nursing team will not judge her. In fact, it is a good thing that she can open up to someone and talk about what is going on with her and she will be praised. Along with talking about her thoughts

“This why you are here, the need to control your urges and talk about then”, explains Jack.

Tabi replies to Jack “I don’t trust staff, really”.

Jack sits there and they both get comfortable and get a cup of tea each while they sit there on the floor. Tabi stands up and Jack decides to follow. While Jack starts to stand up he feels his knees and hips start to crack and pop. Tabi starts to laugh at the sound of Jack’s joints cracking. Tabi turns to another member of staff and says,

“Steve, could you make me a coffee and Jack a tea please”?

Steve goes off to the kitchen and makes the drinks while Tabi and Jack walk off to the dining room and they both sit at the table. Tabi sits down and Jack sits opposite her across from the table. Jack sits opposite her as he hasn’t forgotten what Tabi has started to tell him.  It would be safe for him if there was a barrier between them. Jack tries his hardest not to look a little worried as Tabi may open up to him and this would not do if she notices him looking worried. Steve walks into the dining room and hands over one cup of tea and a coffee and says,

“Tea up, you two”.

Steve does not go far as there is another staff member needed as Jack can’t be on his own with a female patient. Tabi looks over at Steve and gives him a look as if to say, why are you standing there? With Jack noticing the look Tabi is giving Steve, he pipes up and explains that Steve is only standing there for both their protection. Tabi turns her head towards Jack and has a confused look on her face. Jack explains, it’s just so I don’t say or do anything untoward and same for you, so it’s protecting us both,

“Ok, I understand now” and smiles at Jack.

Jack starts to sip his tea while Tabi explains about the urges and thoughts she has towards Jack. Tabi explains the thoughts are violent, as in she wants to kill Jack and also she has urges to do sexual things to him once he is dead. Jack continues to sip his tea and tries to keep a deadpan face while she talks to him. Tabi continues to keep eye contact with Jack and notices the lack of expression change in his face and continues to talk to Jack with just a little smile on her face. Tabi reaches for her coffee and takes a few sips of her drink and continues to talk to Jack.

Tabi starts to explain that when Jack is not paying any attention in her direction, as in his back is facing her she will get something heavy and hit him over the head. Ding this, it will hopefully knock him out and then the blood will gush out of his head while he is collapsed on the floor. With the excitement of the blood all over the place, she will rub the blood onto her body. Once she has rubbed the blood into her clothing and over her face, she will then strip off and then rub more blood over her naked body covering her from head to toe. If she does not have enough blood she then will cut open Jacks stomach and dig her hands around in his stomach, pulling out his intestines and then rub his blood soaked organs over her naked body. Once she is covered in his blood she will strip Jack’s clothes off him so he is naked and she can see the blood rush from his wounds in his head and stomach. She will then sit on top on Jack and ride his manhood hard. Once Tabi has done this she will tape his eyelids open and with two fingers, dig them behind his eyeballs and pull them out and put them in his stomach. Tabi will do this one by one slowly so she can hear the tearing of the muscles in the eyes as they are ripped from the sockets. Once she has put both eyeballs into his stomach she will then push his intestines back into his wound and stitch it back up. Once she has done this she will go to the bathroom and have a shower and washed herself clean getting rid of the blood.

Once having a shower, she will then smash the mirror into pieces and make at least two pieces two inches by one inch and then place them into the empty eye sockets. Once the glass is put in place Jack will wake up and not knowing what has happened to him. Tabi then explains that Jack will see things more clearly physically and mentally. Every time Tabi looks at Jack she will see herself in Jacks’ eyes but Jack will also be able to see properly and not knowing what has happened. Jack will not know what has happened because she is such a great nurse and she will know how to make sure Jack never finds out.

Upon Tabi finishing talking she looks at Jack and Steve for their reactions but she doesn’t see any reaction in Steve. That’s probably because he wasn’t listening and was more interested in chatting to a female staff member. Jack is still drinking his tea but has nearly finished and puts his cup down and asks Tabi,

“How do you feel now after explaining your thoughts”?

“Excited, I think” explains Tabi with a naughty smile on her face.

“Why do you feel excited”? asks Jack.

“Things like this excite me” replies Tabi with a little of embarrassment in her face.

Finishing their drinks, Jack takes his and Tabi’s cup and hands them to Steve.

“Cheers matey, a good cup of tea there,into,” says Jack.

Turning round Jack says to Tabi “Come on let’s go watch a film in the lounge for a while”.

With this Tabi stands up and follows into the lounge and sits on the sofa. Steve calls over to Jack and summands him to the nursing office, Jack responds with sticking his thumb up. Jack turns to Tabi and says,

“Excuse me a minute will you” with a smile.

Tabi looks up at Jack and smiles and nods at the same time. Jack walks off to the nursing office and Steve explains, that because what Tabi had told him he will need to make an entry in the nursing notes. Steve also says to Jack that he would go and sit with Tabi in the lounge until he is done with the notes. Jack spends the next hour writing in her nursing notes, he does this on the computer and starts to get square eyes. One of the qualified nurses requests to read what Jack has written, not because she doesn’t trust Jack but so she knows what was said and what is going on with Tabi. After she has read Jacks notes the nurse stands up and shuts the office door. With shutting the door, she puts up a scruffy hand written sign saying DO NOT ENTER. The nurse sits back down and lets Jack know that the report is a very well written detailed report. Jack smiles and thanks the nurse.

“Tell me how this makes you feel, what she has said to you”? asks the nurse.

“Don’t know really, a little freaked out I suppose, but I can deal with it” replies Jack trying to appear tough. The nurse looks at Jack in a way of saying I don’t actually believe you. Jack notices her questioning look and responds with a smile and says,

“I’m fine, honestly”

“Ok then if you’re sure” responds the nurse.

With this Jack gets up from his swivel chair and walks over to the door and opens it and walking out he turns left and wonders off in to the lounge where they are watching a film. Jack stands in the door way and watches what film they are all watching. It appears that everyone is watching SMURFS. With this Jack sits down in a spare chair and watches the film as well. Jack looks at his watch and sees it has already come to 19:00 and it will be time to leave soon. The nurse comes out of the office and says to Jack,

“Sorry I forgot to ask you, could you do a few hours tomorrow for an escort please”?

“Yes sure I’m free tomorrow” replies Jack.

“Brilliant be here for 10:00 and it should only take a few hours” responds the nurse.

After that he is please for more hours but in regards to what he was told by Tabi he needs to get home and unwind to his wife on Skype. Maybe get a bottle of wine on the way home as well. With the shift tomorrow he can’t wait to see what this will bring for him. To be fair it has not been a bad afternoon shift just a little mentally draining.

Another Day working as a Health Care Assistant — May 28, 2016

Another Day working as a Health Care Assistant

This little article will try and make people see what it is like working as a health care assistant within a mental health hospital. There are many different names a healthcare worker will be known as, such names as Nursing assistant, Health care assistant, Nursing Assistant or Nursing Auxiliary just to name a few. To work as a health care worker there is at the minute but it is looking like the health authority may change that in the future. One of the main things you need is a good understanding of people, a caring side no matter what happens and to be none judgemental attitude towards people no matter why they are there.

People (patients) will   be in hospital for all sorts of reasons; I have come across people that have been admitted due to developing mental health problems due to the stress of being in prison. Patients come in for reasons of being abused by people known to them, Witnessing traumatic events such as war crimes to them or others. Eating disorders, Schizophrenia, self harm due to abuse or trauma. Depression and bipolar are just to name a few. Yes they are or can be big issues for newly diagnosed patients but with the right medication treatment and therapy to deal with problems they can be managed well on the ward and in the community.

Just because some one has this diagnosis it does not mean that you have to cross the street when you see them or that they are dangerous. The best and most supportive thing you can do for someone with a mental health problem is say HELLO or just ask HOW ARE YOU? Then be there for them, listen to them and treat them like a friend or an individual. Don’t judge  them because of an illness. Be an ear for them, a person to talk to or just sit with them and spend time with them. Don’t get me wrong it can be difficult at times and you will hear stories of a horrific nature whether its something they have done or they have had done to them. All you need to do is listen and not show expressions of shock or horror in your face. Listen, give guidance if they need it and be supportive no matter what. Some patients may have urges to hurt themselves at times and all you need to do is be supportive and try and guide them away from wanting to hurt themselves. This can be difficult and mentally stressful on you. So no matter how mentally strong you think you are you will need to unload on your mentor or a colleague just so the stress of the information does not well and build up and stress you out.

With what I have written the job role is extremely rewarding and mentally fulfilling and when you have had input with a patient and you see them doing well and then they move on to a better placement or even back home. You must think that you have had a massive input on that persons life and made it better. Doing this job is definitely not for the money but the emotional rewards is massive. I work in a very stressful job as a health care assistant and have been doing for over 19 years. The place I work is very demanding and can be physically demanding at times due to the nature of the patients and their problems but no matter what happens I can’t see myself working anywhere else. If you decide to become a health care assistant you will come across people (staff) that are good at de-escalation, dealing with confrontation, and one or two staff will be good all round no matter what is going on on the ward.

Myself, without trying to sound big headed, I can deal with most situations such as aggression, confrontation, self harm or just a shoulder to cry on. I always pass over to the nurse in charge what has been disgust and enter everything in the  patients notes whether it be hand written or electronic patient notes. At the end of every week or day depending how stressful it has been I sit in a room with someone I feel I can talk to and unload onto them. What you need to remember is when you speak to the colleague is not to be afraid to show your emotions when chatting, this helps you release the stress.

What is Self-Harm? — May 24, 2016

What is Self-Harm?

In this article I will try to explain what is self-harm and the reasons for this; from the views of a health care assistant with at least 20 years’ experience in mental health.  There are people in hospital who self-harm and also people in the community that self-harm but to different extents. Everybody has their own personal reasons why they do this and if you meet someone that does this please do not judge them. They are in turmoil, mental pain or they used to be and now they have learnt to control it to an acceptable level. What needs to happen is the health service and the private companies need to make awareness and knowledge more acceptable to the community to understand. I hope that what I have written here will help even if it is just a small amount. Any information that helps is better than nothing at all.

There was a horrible story in the papers a few months back about a young lady who had scares on her arms from self-harm and she went into a big super market chain, I will not name them as I don’t want to get in trouble, she went to the cashier with a bottle of alcohol and the cashier told her that they cannot serve her the alcohol because she had scares on her armWhat  The young lady was told it was company policy not to serve alcohol with anyone that self-harms. To me this is disgusting as alcohol is not the reasons why people self-harm and if she was out in the community she has a big control over these urges to hurt herself. You cannot judge a person just because they have scares. I have a few scares on my person but that does not mean I self-harm, I’m just clumsy.

Next I will try to explain some of the possible reasons why they self-harm and the ways people self-harm. It is mostly a female thing but it is on the rise of male’s self-harm and coming to light.

Visual and Auditory Hallucinations

Some patients within a hospital setting who suffer from hearing and seeing things like past abusers, demons or a coping friend due to stress or past events known as hallucinations usually not a friendly voice or vision. With a patient that has this condition, the voices are usually a kind of friend in a difficult time and is there only way of coping while it is a stressful time. The voices are usually a coping skill for the person but when someone who cares comes into their life the voices get louder as well as the visual problems get worse. At times of stress the hallucinations tell the person that they are worthless and they need to end their life because no one loves them or cares. This is why some patients find it hard to cope with when they find a staff member that actually cares. The voices get louder when the patient finds someone who actually shows a caring side. The patient will end up listening to the hallucinations as they will be as convincing to the patient as they are the only friend they have during the whole time. The patient may end up ripping their clothes tying a ligature around their necks or another limb. Maybe finding something sharp like a razor, metal, hard plastic and cut themselves to make themselves bleed. Some patients may also use the plastic from pens, metal from clothing, braking glass items. Some start to head bang and what I mean by this is that the patient usually sitting or crouching will bang their head off a wall or a door. This is all due to the voices or hallucinations they experience.

Abuse

What you may come across is mainly females but some males that have been abused from either family members or friends that know the family or it could be a random stranger which is rare. The abuse can come in all shapes when it comes to the subject of abuse, patients could start cutting, have sight dysmorphia, where they see something bigger or horrible when they look in the mirror. People could come across physical abuse, where the person will witness people being beaten, tortured or mentally abused just to name a few. It will come to a point where their coping strategy is to hurt them self to cope with the mental pain. They could start to withhold their food and fluid intake, start in to insert things whether it be through an open hole, mouth, rectum, virginal, or open wound. I know it is not nice to read but this is the facts I’m afraid. But this could also link in with hallucinations as well due to the past abuse.

Learnt Behaviour

It is an unfortunate thing but people that do go into care due to past problems will also pick up things while in care. There are some patients will see other patients do things like self-harm and find out that it can lead to maybe positive outcomes. Some patients will learn that from other patients that self-harming will bring in staff and also give the attention they need. But what you need to realise is that some patients don’t know how to ask for help in times of stress and this is the only way they know how to ask. So some patients that don’t know how to ask for help may self-harm just to get the staff member in close.

 

Eating

There are some patients that will either restrict or over eat on their food. This is a difficult situation to deal with as it could be life threatening in some cases. Some people will reduce food and fluid intake due to the stupid fashion industry. It is portrayed that the model should be skinny and beautiful, so the young mainly females will stop eating and try to up their cardio to lose the weight. The fashion industry needs to change their ways on this. Some patients in their previous lives may have been bullied at school, work or college and called fat, chunky just to name a few.

It is not just restricting food it can also be over eating for a number of days, then eating nothing. It could also be a problem where they will over eat and then self-induce vomiting as they usually think it will help them reduce weight.

 

These are just to name a few items problems to do with self-harm. If you want to look deeper there will be a number of triggers to influence self-harm.

I hope you have found this small amount of information useful helpful even if it was just a little.

Please feel free to leave a comment but remember this is just an opinion and not total fact .

Working in Mental health — May 23, 2016

Working in Mental health

There are a few jobs that are hard on your own mental state, physical being and sanity but yet still rewarding at the same time. That is working as a health care assistant in mental health in a hospital setting. I have done it for about 20 years and still doing it today (for now). 

The job can be very stressful on you and you can end up thinking why the hell do I do this job? Surely there are better jobs out there? Answer because you are made for this job and there is no better job out there. It takes a certain type of person to work in mental health. I mean some one that is not judgemental, not self opinionated, a great listener and actually gives a shit about people no matter what. 

In my job I have been told things by patients that would horrify the everyday public; we have to keep level headed and not judge. 

People think it has lots of perks;NO it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong helping others, bringing people out of a bad place in their own mind or world gives you a kind of wellbeing and achievements. Hearing those two words, Thank you, just makes it all worth it. It’s an amazing feeling when you see a patient change from when they were admitted to being discharged to either home or a new placement. Yet sometimes there are low times when the treatment doesn’t seem to have any affect on them. 

For the health care assistance out there it is a great rewarding job. Stressful, painful, yet rewarding career to be in but it also could be a dead end job in the wrong place. There will be chances for lots of training to deal with patients, aggression, emergencies and many more situations. If you want to learn about different kinds of people, life, bad upbringings, the kind of nasty people that are out there, how to read potential risk situations then go into health care in mental health. 

I have learnt so much in my job as a health care worker with in a hospital and have so much information and teaching to pass on. I think something like blogging is the only way I could do it now. Don’t let anyone in your job talk down to you. People don’t realise that the health care assistance are the front line troops  in a ward setting. The patient will usually trust and form therapeutic relationships with health care assistance before anyone else. The patients will open up to you first and disclose things to you before qualified nurses or doctors. You are the eyes and ears of the ward and if people want to know something about the patients, you can guarantee the information would of come from a health care assistant first. Health Care Assistants are the backbone of the hospitals and wards; it needs to be recognised throughout the services whether it be NHS or private charity hospitals. 

World of Madness — March 27, 2016

World of Madness

I have worked in mental Health for over 20 years, from child learning disabilities to elderly mental health, from hospital settings to community based settings and I have come across some good things and some not so good things. One thing people will realise while working in any setting in mental health is that you are always learning. Whether it be on how to deal with people of different abilities from physical to mental abilities or some people’s abilities within poor or high social settings. Unfortunately you will often hear about the bad things that happen but not so much on the great work the nursing, doctors, managers, occupational therapists, physio therapists and social workers can perform. The work (job) is and can be very rewarding, especially when you have a patient (client) moves on to a better placement or back home into the community. I will write about the possibilities of what could happen with in a mental health setting but nothing has actually happened when I have worked. Working as a nurse whether it is as a health care worker or a qualified nurse you will always be going on courses and learning in the work place. Some courses you may come across are basic to advanced life support, first aid, manual handling and lifting and some form of conflict management like Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression (PMAV) or Control and Restraint. The last two are to teach you how to take control of a potentially aggressive situation and possibly move a violent patient safely for them and others around you. These courses are usually paid for by the company you may work for and usually have no cost to you.

Myself, I have worked mainly in a hospital setting but also in the community. I have worked in this setting for over 20 years and enjoyed near enough every day so far, but there has been days that I have thought ‘why do I do this?’ don’t get me wrong the job is great but it can be very draining on you depending on the setting you work in. If you are thinking of this line of work, the best thing you can do is to make sure you get regular supervision, this means that you will have a regular member of staff usually a qualified nurse but it can be a senior healthcare assistant to off load too. You should have this, usually an hour and talk about what is bothering you, the things you find stressful and also talk about the good things you come across. I have found over the years that the supervision has helped me a lot while working in mental health. Sometimes they will also supply a professional councillor for you to talk to but don’t worry what you talk about in this session usually confidential. The only time the things you talk about get passed forward are if they are detrimental to your work place for colleagues or patients. What you need to remember while working in mental health is that the patients are here for a reason and they need someone that is compassionate, Understanding, someone that will make time for them and also guide them on the right way on how to deal with problems.

One thing you should try to understand is that you will come across many different patients and people with in the services but try not to take anything personally. Some patients my hear or see hallucinations which could be upsetting for them and sometimes if you disturb this event they could become verbally hostile, upset or even on some occasion aggressive. Sometimes these hallucinations could be telling them to hurt themselves and telling them that they are worthless. Telling them bad things such as people are out to get them, hurt them or the government is spying on them making them very paranoid. So if you come across a patient that may be verbally aggressive or physically aggressive, what you need to try and remember is  why are they aggressive is it due to the hallucinations, they could see something bad in you like past abuser or something evil. So if this does happen remember to try and be companionate towards the patient. If the aggression does occur this does not mean that the patient needs to be secluded ( locked in a room for safety) try to control the situation and try talking to the patient and discover what is going on but mainly have a lot of patience in the situation. Speak gently and do not use long complicated words or long sentences. TAKE YOUR TIME this is very important, you will usually find that the patient is usually frightened of what is happening and does not usually mean any harm.

You may come across patients but mainly females but sometimes some males also that have an urge to hurt themselves. This can come in many forms such as cutting themselves with sharp objects as broken plastic, razors or glass just to name a few things. Some patients may rip items of clothing and tie what is known as ligatures around their necks or a limb, usually if it is around their neck and they are serious you may not know they have done it at first until you check on them and find they have tied something around their neck. If you ever come across this it is not a nice thing to witness but try and remain calm and call for assistance. Some patients may tie it around their wrists, legs or fingers just to name a few. It could be a cry for help as they do not know how to ask for help whether it be for thoughts and they are struggling with these thoughts. If a patient is cutting themselves it could be due to pressurising thoughts and seeing blood or feeling the pain is the only release from the pressure that they know at the minute how to deal with this. Sometimes it could be due to voices in their heads telling them to hurt themselves, probably saying to them that they deserve to be hurting or they are not worthy and this is their punishment. What you need to do as a staff member is be understanding and whatever you do, DO NOT JUDGE no matter what they do or say to you.

Once in a while you will come across a patient that will build a therapeutic relationship with you and starts to build up trust. Do not overstep the boundaries on this. They may feel ok to open up to you and talk about past events, if you feel comfortable with this let the patient speak but never put words in the patients mouth or direct the topic of conversation. At points of the conversation you may find that the patient could become emotional or stop talking for a while, this is when you should be compassionate and understanding and give them time. If you ever find yourself in this situation, after wards please go and talk to the nurse in charge (NIC) and let them know what has been spoken about in the conversation. Then after wards you should enter a detailed entry in the patient’s notes whether it be electrical or paper. Then after this try and see if you can talk to your supervisor or a senior member of staff and just talk about what was said to you and how it may of affected you and don’t take the stresses of this home with you. You may be told some good things from their past but also some bad things about their past and at times you may come across some patients that may possibly make things up but always take this information and speak to the nurse in charge.

I have in my time have attended some sessions within a patient setting and enjoyed nearly all of them. One session I have enjoyed attending is physical activities, education, ward rounds and coping skills just to name a few. Whether it be with working with adults, learning disabilities or adolescents, there are many sessions staff can join in with and support the patients. In the community I have taken clients (patients) to college and attended art. This was fun as the staff I worked with were looking after clients with learning and physical disabilities. One time we took the clients to college and painted pictures that the teacher had already drawn, this was to get the clients hand and eye coordination working better and faster. We sat helping the clients to pick the colours they wanted and to paint the pictures. We have taken clients out for birthday meals and made it into a huge deal for them and their families, Gone out to restaurants for meals and a drink non-alcoholic as some alcohol can affect their medication and their mental health. We have gone for days in the local parks and taken a picnic with us and also on a few occasions taken them on holiday to other countries or places around England which could be fun for both parties.

What you got to realise in this line of work it is not for the money it is because you have a devotion to caring and want to help people. You should never judge the patients no matter what they tell you, or how they treat you and it is never personal. You will always be learning on the job on how to deal with situations such as upsetting times, confrontations verbal or aggressive, how to deal with gratitude and how to deal with loving families loving and not so caring. You may also find patients that don’t like hearing the word NO and at times you may come across complaints made about you but don’t worry if you remember to always talk the truth. It is a wonderful job to be in and educational job as well and you will meet a very wide verity of people in this line of work. You are there to help them learn ways to cope with thoughts and feelings and deal with their emotions. You are the nurse and they are a patient so always remember that and never cross these boundaries and you will always do well.

 

 

 

Coming across as paranoid. — May 31, 2015

Coming across as paranoid.

Jack has just had a phone call  for an emergency shift cover, it is at a hospital for adults with mental health issues and the ward he is working on today is Belvoir Unit. This unit is a ward for  males from 18-65 years of age and the diagnosis ranges from Paranoid schizophrenic to self harmers and alcoholics. This ward is a ten bedded unit with mainly male staff but it also has female staff, as you will find out if you work on a male unit it always helps to have female staff in certain situations. Sometimes when a male patient has a situation that could turn violent a female presence doing the talking , de-escalation has a calming effect of the patient,  Don’t get me wrong it does not always work it could sometimes have the opposite effect. It’s all about knowing your patient and constantly assessing the situation and willing to take the lead in changing it in the last seconds. You will have to realise that even though all patients are there for treatment on one ward/unit they are or should be treated as indaviduals with careplans that are for the patients benafit not to make it easy for staff but easier stay for the patient.

Jack has turned up at 13:00 on a Thursday afternoon for his shift , he has been here a few times and has found it a little bit difficult as one of the patients pays a lot of attention to Jack. This is because the patient has told him he reminds him of a man the abused him as a child, thats why the patient pays a lot of attention to him. Jack has come across this attachment disorder before and it does not bother Jack, as he knows that he is not to alone at any time. So Jack goes in to the office and asks for a handover which took him about ten minutes to start as the nurse in charge is dealing with an incident on the ward. As the nurse in charge finishes and walks in the office she smiles and says to Jack

‘Sorry about the wait, we had an issue with Jon’.
Jon is the patient that has the attachment disorder with Jack. Jon over heard staff talking about Jack and another person coming in to work, which excited Jon and he started getting elaited in behaviour and could not bring himself down again. With Jon’s behaviour getting worse he had to either have oral madication to help him calm down but her refused this and had to be assisted by staff to have an Intramuscular injection to help calm him down. So this meant staff had to physicaly hold Jon by the arms, luckily Jon was willing to accept this I.M injection in the right arm just below his shoulder.
Jack listened to the hand over about the patients and the goings on in the ward and it appeared that it has been a settled day with just Jon playing up a little. After the hand over Jack walks onto the ward and greats the rest of the staff and says hello to the other patients on the ward. While talking to one of the staff after greeting everyone Jack talks to a member of staff called Carl. Carl is a senior health care assistant, who has worked on the ward for about seven years and to be fair he knows his stuff and knows most things about the patients. On the ward Carl is what is commonly known as a fire fighter on the ward, this means he is the first port of call for any incidents that occur on the ward. Carl starts to hand over a few things to Jack while they sit at the dinning tables which are just across from the day area where all the patients are sitting watching a film. Carl tells Jack that Dean who is a patient that has been there for just a week is having a rough time as he is suffering from Paranoia and p[eople should be careful when Dean is about. Dean is having such a bad time even if people look at him to long he starts to get paranoid.
As time goes on by on the ward Jack is sitting in the day area just keeping an eye of everyone, doing the hourly observations. This basicly means for the next few hours Jack has to be able to see all patients every fifteen minutes for the next few hours. Jack went off down the corridor with Carl to check on the patients in their bedrooms, and when they come across Jon’s room he is there standing at his door looking threw his observation window which is in the door. Jack looks in the observation window and gets a fright as he sees Jon just stairing straight back at him with a look of fear on his face. Jack turns to Carl and says
‘ Dam that scared the crap out of me’
and they bothered laughed at this and walked off, not thinking about the affect it will have on Jon who as we know is paranoid. As Carl and Jack walk off down the corridor back to the day area Jon comes out of his room shouting at Jack, as he knows better not to start on Carl. Jon starts to march in an agrressive manor towards Jack and Carl raising his voice but directing it at Jack saying
‘ what did you say about me?, what the hell are you planning?, your going to try and kill me arent you?’

Carl suddenly stands infront of Jack and tells Jon to stop shouting at Jack and he will let Jon know what they was talking about. Jon carried on marching towards Jack and Carl pulled is alarm and takes hold of Jon and Jack jumps in and takes hold of the other arm containing Jon just in case he gets aggressive. Carl raises his voivce a little bit just so Jon can hear him over his own voice, Carl tells Jon that Jack and his self was just saying that Jack got frighterned when he looked threw the observation window aand saw Jon just stairing and watching evrything going on. Jon shouts at Carl and says

‘liar you planning to kill me in my sleep, your working with them liar’.
Carl and Jack start to walk Jon down to the day area and went to sit on the sofa whilst still holding him. As we walk in the lounge the patients all get up and walk out of the lounge as Jon is shouting his mouth off. Jon is sat down on the sofa with Carl and Jack and Carl is left doing the talking as Jon has a little bit of hatred towards Jack as he thinks that Jack is out to kill him. Jon contiues with his raised voice saying that Jack is working for the company and they are sending Jack messages through the TV and he is recieving them by a transmitter in her head.According to Jon, Jack is recieving messages from ‘The Company’ and hearing orders on how to kill off Jon without anyone knowing what has actually happened.
At this point Carl activates his alarm and more staff respond into the lounge where the three of them are sitting. The reason why Carl has activated his alarm is because he knows when Jon starts talking about ‘The Company’ it usualy ends up with Jon getting so paranoid that he could get so aggressive that he may hurt someone. Carl looks at Jack and nods down to the floor as if to relocate Jon to the floor to control his outburst. As Jon was talken to the floor and the other staff came in and took hold of JOn, There was staff holding his left and right arm, legs and head. The qualified walks in and asks Carl what has happened and Carl explains to the qualified what did happen and at this point Jon shouts out
‘ You liar, you are planning to kill me tonight, I saw you whispering while you and Jack was watching me’.

Carl continues to explain what happened and Jon continues to shout.
‘There trying to kill me’

Nurse in charge says to Carl ‘i’ll get an I.M for Jon’

Jon hears this and starts to struggle more during the restraint by staff and shouts out
‘ No don’t inject me, someone help me she is going to kill me with an injection, please help me,

The other patients don’t bother with Jon as this is nothing new to see or hear. Carl starts to talk to Jon explaining what has gone on and what will happen like the injection as the situation has gone to far now. After five minutes the nurse in charge brings the injection and injects Jon in the left butt cheack and during this Jon starts to cry and says
‘I hope you are happy? You have just done what The Company have tried to do. You have just let her kill me’.

After the nurse in charge leaves it takes about ten minutes for the injection to work and now staff can relocate Jon to the seclusion room to calm down for a short amount of time. Staff come off Jon’s legs and ask Jon to bring his knees to his chest and the member of staff holding his head raise it up to hip level while kneeling. Once Jon is in kneeling position the staff guide Jon to standing with the staff but with Jon’s head ramining at hip level to the staff memeber holding his head. The staff and Jon walk to the seclusion room where Jon will spend a little bit of time to chill out. Once in the room they get in position to relocate Jon to the floor and once on the floor Jon starts off shouting
‘Don’t lock me in here the company will gas the room and kill me’
Once again Jon starts to become resisitive as in trying to get out of the room, but luckily the staff have put him on the floor face down and have full control of the situation. Fist thiing to happen is Carl and Jack bring the patients arms to his back to the point of resistance and the nurse controling the heand stands and takes hold of the arms and Jack and Carl leave the seclusion room. As Carl shouts that the door is clear the nurse on the head lets go of the arms and exits backwards from the seclusion room, shutting the door and locking it behind them. Jon gets up suddenly and starts to pound on the door shouting
‘Let me out, they are going to kill me’.
The nurse in charge goes to the observation camera and observes Jon for a while as he continues to pound on the door.

Inn the next few hours Jack has escorted patients to sessions and out round the grounds with no problems but the one thing the rest of the patients ask Jack is if he is ok after what happened. Jack just smiles and nods at the patients asking him this. Jack knows that he really should not be discussing the situations with other patients. Apart from this situation Jack has had a very peaceful day doing things he enjoys and also the patients sat in the day area watching a film. I thhink it was a comandy, rom com.

The thing you have to realise about people that suffer from paranioa is that if you whisper or constantly look at them you could trigger off their confrontational side. They may thing that you are plotting against them in some way. The government are sending messages through the TV or radio for people to attack certain individuals, plotting to start a revolution. When they are suffering in a bad way no matter what you say to them it may not register what you are saying and you are part of the plan to get them.
Hope you guys like what I have writtien? If you have please follow or leave a comment. I still have plenty more to write.

What I have experienced working within Mental Health — May 25, 2015

What I have experienced working within Mental Health

I have said it before, I have experienced quite a few things while working in mental health some are good things and some of them are a little unnerving. The thing is after a time you could become a little unfazed by certain situations. What I do find frustrating is when you are in the public with a patient/s the amount of looks the patients get from the public if they look a little different or they have scares on visible body parts like arms, neck, face or legs. I think the public need a little more understanding in mental health whether it is with adult or adolescent mental health. People staring at the patients can and sometimes does have an emotional effect on the patient. Working in this line of work takes a special caring sort of person, someone that will take the shouting in your face and the aggression towards you and the threats at times and then keep your cool in these situations. Then you sit down with the patient/ client and talk to them what is getting them into this state and helping them out to bring the anxiety or aggression down to an acceptable level. Don’t get me wrong it can be hard to do this and not every one can keep cool all the time, this is why it is ok to take time out off the ward to bring yourself back.

One situation I have come across while working in different in mental health was the time I met a young patient in an admissions unit. She was a young adult around her twenties, She had come from a good home so it appeared at the time, she appeared to suffer from Schizophrenia and was a big self harmer. With this patient she would hear a voice in her head and see a demon as she put it which told her she was worthless, a whore and needed to kill herself. This would set her off to cutting her arms with anything that could cut her skin on her arms and legs, not just to scratch the skin but at times she would cut right down to the bone. To most people this would make them feel sick or horrify them. As for myself I have come across these  situations a lot so it did not faze me to much. When the patient had been admitted and she was settled in and we was about to sort her belongings out to what she could and could not have the alarms were activated. We stopped with the belongings and ran down to were the alarms are going off, it was the new patients room. She had smuggled in a piece of metal, we found out that she had hidden the metal in her underwear. What we found was that she had cut her fore arm open down to the bone and her blood was all over the place. Her arm was covered in blood and it had covered her torso and legs, Staff gloved up and took hold of her and relocated her to the treatment room. By the time we had moved her with her being resistive with us moving her staff got covered in blood, but this was a regular thing on the ward I was on at the time. The patient was distressed and crying as we had stopped her trying to hurt herself due to the voices demanding that she did this. What you have to understand in these cases is that these voices are there only and best friends and so  convincing to them and this is the only person they will listen too.

Whilst in the treatment room the patient was sat in holds with her cut arm out in front of her and the nurse in charge was cleaning up her arm. We had cleaned her up and found out that she had cut to deep for a basic clean up and she had cut through the muscle and down to the bone. I left the treatment room and called for an ambulance and explained to them the situation and they sent a paramedic to the ward to take the patient to A&E at the local hospital. I can say when she came back with her escorting staff she was in a better frame of mind and her night was a lot better.

With what I blog I don’t mean to offend anyone , but it is what I experience and what happens but names and some experiences have been changed a little.