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Excerpt from The Halfway House

By Jean Winter

Pine View Rehabilitation Unit

Recommendations for change

Summary of Report

The local government commissioned a report, outlining the dysfunctional areas and the installation of better conditions for housing and services in the mental health area. Issues outlined were to create a positive outcome for both the health of those assessed and the wider community.

Research into existing projects and initiatives and evaluating current systems are necessary if the government is to reinvest time, money and people into similar ventures.

Activities and education are important tools in improving mental health. The national government mental health body recommended after very thorough perusal and careful consideration, that the following activities and programmes were to continue.

  1. Socialization programme – community liaisons.
  2. Life skills programme – domestic functioning.
  3. Group therapy – communication studies.
  4. Cognitive behavioural therapy and other recognised psychological tools.
  5. Self esteem-confidence programme – growth development.
  6. Anger management programme – emotional health.
  7. Anxiety management – desensitization activities.
  8. Dealing with depression programme – mood disorder analysis.
  9. Meditation and relaxation programme and other recreational activities.
  10. Goal setting – personal and professional development.
  11. Education and preventative measures in the wider community.

The major and crucial element in mental health is dissemination of information and education. Knowledge relating to various types of mental illness, their definitions, symptoms and treatments currently underway and future research and implementation.  

The above programmes and significant educational vision, attempting to reinforce self identity and creation of a harmonious community has been identified as a realistic venture.                                                                                     

However the projects implemented in rehabilitation units have been inconclusive. The lack of control in small ‘halfway houses’ has negatively reinforced mental health issues and increased problematic areas relating to the community and the mental health sufferer. Therefore such small rehabilitative units are not beneficial.   

It is recommended that clients with mental disorders should be divided and the necessity for a supervisor to coerce motivation and control inappropriate behaviour is essential.

Programmes of import and reform suggested in the aforesaid material are likely to be more influential and practicable with increased staff patient ratio. To improve research, medical data and profiles, related to each individual.

The large and excessive experimental rehabilitative process has proved indefinite with long term objectives. As such the rehabilitative process within the community needs to be on a smaller basis with definable concrete therapies.

It is important to provide conclusive data in the rehabilitation process. Identifying and creating opportunities for the rehabilitation and reintegration of mental health sufferers. The identifiable needs of clients are the first priority.

Recovery, functioning and resolving problems is related to awareness and knowledge. It requires hard work, not only from patients but government departments and the community as a whole. The attempts to acquire better services for those who suffer a mental illness, involves the cooperation of the larger community, to better understand trauma and the insight needed to recover from any major tragedy or illness.   

Mental illness is not an isolated problem, or condition. Hospitalisation is necessary, but the important building blocks of growth occur with others, integration into society.

Therefore the results recommend continuing the rehabilitative process, incorporating individual needs as opposed to institutionalised conditions. Information regarding recovery and incurable illness is still inconclusive.

 

Appendix I

 

Gardenia Baxter’s list of medications

The majority were taken at Felixstowe Hospital and as an outpatient for the successive seven years.

Antipsychotics were prescribed for a psychotic thought disorder. Gardenia was later diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

 

List of Antipsychotics

Chlorpromazine

Thioridazine

Trifluoperazine

Haloperidol

Fluphenazine

Risperidone

Perphenazine

 

Gardenia was also diagnosed with depression and a generalized anxiety disorder.

List of Antidepressants

Imipramine

Dothiepin

Fluoxetine

Sertraline

Venlafaxine

 

Gardenia was also diagnosed with a bipolar type disorder.

List of Mood stabilizers and Anticonvulsant

Lithium

Sodium valproate

Carbamazepine

Lamotrigine

Gardenia also suffered with insomnia, anxiety and agitation.

List of Benzodiazepines

Lorazepam

Clonazepam

Diazepam

Alprazolam

Oxazepam

 

Gardenia was treated for side effects of medication.

List of Anticholinergics

Benztropine

Orphenadrine

 

Appendix II

 

Gardenia Baxter’s list of unwanted side affects related to her psychiatric medication. There are greater degrees of discomfort attributable to some medications than others. Gardenia had signs of tardive dyskinesia and Parkinsonism symptoms.

 

List of Side effects

Dilation of pupils – a significant and obvious sign of being overmedicated

 

Drowsiness, fatigue

Poor memory

Slowed intellectual functioning

Headache

Difficulty in speech

Disturbed concentration

Inability to sleep

Loss of appetite

 

Nausea

Vomiting

 

Mask like face

Decreased frequency of blinking

Inability to move eyes

Blurred vision

Muscle spasms of face

Difficulty in swallowing

 

Disorientation

Restlessness or need to keep moving

Shuffling walk; stiffness of arms or legs

Trembling and shaking of hands and fingers

Involuntary choreathetotic movements

Slow movements

Walking stiffly without swinging the arms

Stooped posture

Loss of balance and control

Lack or loss of coordination

Dizziness

Seizures

 

Weight gain

Diabetes

Swelling of ankles

Swollen lips

Dryness of mouth

Nasal stuffiness

Increased perspiration

Constipation

Acne

 

Fluid retention

Difficulty in urinating

 

Numbness

Sensitivity to light

 

Aggression

Anger

Hostility

Irritability

Socially inappropriate behaviour ie disrobing in public

 

Breast enlargement

Changes in menstrual period

Elevated prolactin which suppress menstruation

hallway

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