Greetings and warm wishes to you all.
I feel I am starting to lose it. I know this has been a hard journey for all of us on this forum but some have the challenge of dealing with additional issues. Our daughter, now 17, has been suffering from anorexia since her first inpatient in feb 2014. Since then, we had violence, a jump out the 2nd story window, foster care, 2 more inpatient stays, a diagnosis of schizoaffective, a 4 month inpatient psychiatric stay and now a stay in a transition house. We are a middle class family and my daughter, prior to illness, was an exceptional student, athlete, soccer player, community member, volunteer etc. How far we have all fallen. Now she dresses and acts like a homeless person, which she kind of is but at her own choice. Part of her paranoia relates to me as I am quick to point out my concerns and to help her see what she is doing to herself. She is determined to do things on her own when she does not have the skills, resources or mental faculties to do so. When I express my concerns she says that I am hurting her and a trigger ( of course she is not considering that starvation, not sleeping or taking her medication places one in that type of state). Presently, she has cut off all contact.
Perhaps I am trying to redirect my anger and sadness but I want to send the following letter to the psychiatrist at the inpatient mental health hospital. Just wondering what others think of the letter (ps I am from Ontario, Canada)? I write this to you with a great deal of disappointment. While I appreciated the time and attention that you gave M while in your care, I am still left in awe of a mental health system that is so poorly equipped to deal with a dual diagnosis, enables illness, the division of families and the lack of apparent accountability.
As you may or may not be aware, as I expected, only a week after M's expedited discharge, M
proceeded to lose about 10 lbs which is devastating for someone who is anorexic. She is not sleeping, some nights staying up all night and has become increasingly paranoid. She is not communicating with me at all .
I learned a few things as an HR professional. First, is to question whether one can defend one's decision in the media. For example, if the media covers a decision that was made, could we defend the said decision with integrity and or ensure no negative image occurs to the business/service. Second, if the organization was going to make a decision that may negatively affect a person/staff member, it is important to have resources available to that person. Thus, the never terminate someone on Friday rule because they wouldn't have anyone to speak with over the weekend.
From my understanding, you lead M to believe that she would be given a spot in the mental health recovery program. This is what she was expecting/hoping. When that turned out not to be the case, you gave McKenzie only one viable choice, CHEO (ed program), within which she had to make a spit decision given she was working the next day. Given her illnesses, and impaired processing/judgement, we would have expected you to give her more processing time to made such an important choice. Instead, she was discharged within 2 hours of notification. Then, once discharged both you and Siovone were off on sickness/vacation and unable to be reached.
Days earlier, my husband and I expressed our concern about M going into a transitional environment as while there may be some supports in place, they, like your organization, are not equipped or trained to safely manage a life threatening eating disorder. Yet, despite our concerns and your knowledge that she was not able to effectively manage her eating disorder ( lack of weight restoration during the 4 months of inpatient treatment and rejection from the recovery program), you discharged her without a place to live, no real supports and only a couple of pills of medication. You and your staff also lead her to believe that she needs to learn to recover on her own, which is misleading. Eating disorders are serious biological and psychological illnesses equivalent to an addiction. Often suffers can not make this choice on their own and they can only recover through treatment. It was well known that M was unable to take care of herself with respects to her eating disorder.
Had we known that she was going to be discharged so abruptly we would have offered other options such as a treatment program in the states ( at great personal expense). Additionally, we are disappointed that a referral to Homewood was not made sooner given our repeated requests and your knowledge of the long waiting period of admission. Furthermore, a referral to Ontario Shores, another viable option, was not considered and, due to her age, (a referral needs to be made 4 months prior to turning 18) is not longer an option.
If she had brain cancer that required her to administer medication and she proved to be unable, would one have expected the same protocol to discharge her with no place to go? I think not. What I would expect in this example as I had hoped for the ROH, is that M remain in the hospital until another suitable treatment facility became available or that the patient/M proved to have the needed self care skills.
Since our rights as her parents have been stripped, if something were to happen to M and or if she were to do something to someone else, who then is responsible? I think saying it would be M would be a cop out on behalf of the Royal as you were the decision makers who discharged her before she had the proper skill set. In makes me wonder whether the change in legislation was really in the best interest of the patient or as a means to reduce liability for staff. However, I am hopeful in the future that given that the Prime Minister's wife had an eating disorder and his mother a mental illness, and are parents themselves, that they are open to listening to the state of system and will to change it.