Portraits: Patients and Psychiatrists

Wellcome Trust Arts Award 2009

Ward Round- Chaffinch Ward, River House, Bethlem Royal Hospital, 10/12/09

with one comment

I was invited to attend the weekly ward round at Chaffinch Ward(medium secure), River House, Bethlem Hospital last Thursday 10/12/09. I was escorted to the
ward through a series of locked doors by a ward staff member. In the
ward I immediately saw the ward round team in a room with large glass
panel walls by the entrance. The ward round team consisted of a Psychologist, Forensic
Psychiatrist, Occupational Therapist, three medical students, two ward
nurses and myself.

There had been a significant event on the ward the previous evening
and the immediate conversation was addressing this matter. There where
issues to sort out with organizations like MAPPA and Interpol, the
police and the press. I listened while the team discussed how best to
deal with these issues keeping the safety of all involved as priority.

When these matters had been dealt with, the ward round began. The team began to discuss patients on the ward- any problems they where having,
progress they had made and how to address this appropriately. For example, granting
more unescorted leave to a patient who had behaved responsibly and
postponing leave of a patient who had behaved in a disruptive or
negative way. Each patient was called in after these discussions and
the psychiatrist explained to them what the team had decided and
discussed this with the patient. Some patients seemed very happy with
their progress and situation and others where noticeably unhappy or
disappointed by the news they received, others made jokes about the

the atmosphere was one of total concentration. The meeting covered so
many issues and had to be kept within the 9.30am-1pm time schedule.
during this meeting all people present contributed to the discussion,
offering different perspectives, and I learnt a huge amount from
observing the meeting.

In the afternoon, I sat in on meetings one of which was a meeting to release a young male patient who had been in psychiatric hospital for a number of years. his mother was
with him in the meeting. The occupational therapist discussed
possibilities for voluntary work in the community and possible adult
education course he may be able to enroll for. The hostel worker from
he hostel he is moving to was there and they had a discussion about
what kind of expectations the hostel had for him. He will be spending
Christmas with his mum this year, she said “I have not had him for
Christmas for a long time”, and she had a great smile. It was an
emotional meeting. The team wished him good luck with his new
life and he left the room with his mother. From my seat I could see
them hugging in the corridor when they left and it was very
moving. I found it very difficult not to cry at
this point.

Written by gemmaanderson

13/12/2009 at 11:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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    04/01/2010 at 7:18 am

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