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What is a day like on an acute psychiatric ward?

I bet you won’t believe this is an acute psychiatric ward, but let me tell you what this ward is like.

It is a secure locked acute psychiatric ward. It’s where you go if you are quite mentally unwell.
At about 7am we all get woken for breakfast, but honestly most of us go back to sleep, throughout the night someone checks on us every hour, it depends which staff do the checks some just look through the glass frosted window others do that and turn the full bright light on. Helpful I know. Sleep is important to recovery. 

Anyway after that its medication time around 9 am, I like getting there early to miss the cue of 19 other patients.

Then if we want escorted leave we can go to a planning meeting, for a member of staff and a time to be set for escorted leave, which means a member of staff has to come with you, especially if your on a section, for your first few leaves.

There are a lot of Alarms going off, basically if a member of staff who’s doing the hourly checks on patients sees something worrying or bad like agitation or self harm, the alarm will be pulled it’s on every member of staffs keyring, and then staff go running to the room where the alarm was pulled. Usually there’s a lot of shouting especially if the alarm was pulled for someone trashing their room. These alarms happen a lot and are very unsettling.


Then there is visiting time.

Then Lunch, which is usually be pre made sandwiches.

Then Medication again. 

Sometimes if the Occupational therapist is in she will come and open the art room, so we can do something creative or if it’s the day the dog comes in we will pet the dog.

There are also Three tv rooms, one massive one then two more private ones. But if you want to change the channel good luck trying to find the remote.

There are Two quiet rooms

To your surprise we have our own bedroom with own shower/toilet/ sink. With a paper curtain, no doors and a shelf for clothes. We can have a personal key to lock it. We can access it at any time day or night.
Windows strong and mental so can’t get out


There is a beautiful garden which can be accessed through the canteen or through the large to room. It’s got really high metal fences, and there are flower arrangements which are so pretty.

Visiting hours are very strict your only allowed in the dinning room, and through to the garden or the Hub which is a oval shaped room in the middle of the ward, there is sofas, chairs, tables and a table tennis table. It’s pretty relaxed in there. There are three visiting hours a day.

I stress so much about ward round, the days and times are changed nearly every week. It’s very unsettling. I’ve also now been told my consultant is off for two weeks, causes so much anxiety. In ward round your able to talk about possible medication changes, any side effects from medications and about possible leave/discharge.

You can come in to the hospital two ways. Under a Sectioned or as a Voluntary patient. The main difference is leave, if you have chose to be here you can go out on leave alone a lot more than if you are sectioned. Also if your voluntary then you can ask to discharge your self, they can say no and if you still adiment your going, they can section you. I feel there isn’t too much difference.

Leave can be given by your consultant if your sectioned and most likely it will be escorted leave, someone with you at all times. But if your in here voluntary then you can just ask the nurses if you can go when you want between 10am and 8pm, sometimes they may say no and if you are still wanting to go they can section you for a few hours/day to prevent you leaving the ward.

Cleaners come round everyday. They are meant to hoover, and mop the floor and clean the bathroom. And also they do the communal areas too.

Everyday your meant to be offered your One to one with your named nurse for that day.

Care plan is given to you when you’ve been on the ward a few days and the nurses, doctors and consultants can have an input on what needs to be worked on while on the ward and things you may need help with.

Observation levels will depend on how much of a risk the staff think you are. These can change from being 2:1 which is two staff with you at all times. Then 1:1 which is one stag always with you, then level 3 this means every 15 ministers your meant to be checked on, or level 4 is when your checked on hourly. These are good opportunities to ask the staff for help if you aren’t brace enough to leave your room.

What you can and cant have here…

They are very strict about what you can and can’t have. I’m not going to go in to detail because I don’t want to give others any ideas.

Around the ward there are really nice pictures. I think there meant to give hope and to show you beauty.

The ward I was in your allowed to have phones but they get charged in a cupboard.

I know all wards are different, so there may not be the same things I’ve described.

I hope you all stay well and I’m here if you need to talk.

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