Jul 26, 2013


It is not easy to visit a family member in a psychiatric ward.
But that is exactly what we have been doing for the past 8 days.
Each day is different.
Some visits are filled with optimism and hope (like today's visit).
Some are filled with confusion (why aren't they better today?)
and some visits are filled with dread
 and despair (why are they worse....I thought they were getting better?)
When you visit, always stay positive and speak clearly.
Holding hands is nice if they are open to this.
Limit your visit to 5 minutes if they seem disturbed emotionally.
Don't take their mental problems personally.
Some medications are agitating, so don't be surprised if they blame you for troubles.
Avoid confusion by always staying calm and reassuring.
Ask simple questions but just enough to get a handle on how things are going.
Questions like...are you eating?....are you sleeping?...are you taking your medicine?....are enough for one visit.
A great way to connect is to bring photos from a family album.
Bring photos of the loved one's childhood, home, pets or vacations.
Remind them of happier times.
Encourage them that things are going to get better and that this is not forever.
Some places allow outside magazines or books
and some allow outside foods or snacks.
Bring some of these during your visit, but
always check first to avoid disappointment.
We sometimes bring some paper and pencils and draw together.
Our loved one likes to draw and this also gives us an idea of how he is doing.
After the visit, ask the nurse the same questions you asked the patient to see if they match up.
If you can, find out what medicines are working and what's not.
Research each medicine at home to see what they are used for and the dosages commonly used.
Ask the nurse to write down the names.
Once you get back out (remember, these are locked units), you will probably 
not remember.
Be friendly to the staff....this is the absolute BEST thing you can possibly do.
They have a very difficult job;
a task very few people would want to do each and every day 
of their lives. 
The staff members I've met are always caring and loving...a fact that allows me 
to sleep at night with less worries.
Today's 5 minute break is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard.
It's a bit sad, but one I think you will enjoy.
The song is "Why Should I Cry For You" by Sting.

Thanks to all for your prayers for our son.
from our garden today

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