The Kaseman Behavioral Health Hospital is attached to Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital, but as far as I know you can’t actually get to the behavioral health section from the regular section. (Perhaps there is a way through for staff, but we were told there was no way.) This is what the entrance looks like. When you walk through those doors there is a small counter which is sometimes staffed by someone who might be able to answer your questions. Beyond the counter there are double doors and a phone. This is where your journey as patient on the Kaseman Behavioral Health Unit begins.
There are two units, North and South. In order to get up to either unit, you have to pick up the phone and dial one of the extensions printed on a sign next to the phone. The person you talk to will either transfer you to the other unit, as necessary, or send someone down to come get you. When you first arrive, no one can come with you. You will have to say goodbye to whoever brought you and you won’t be able to see them again until visiting hours after you’ve been through the admissions process.
I know, I know. I said the admissions process was complete, but really once the you have a bed, the process has only just begun. The nurse will take you on the elevator to the second floor where you will be brought to either the North or the South unit. Once you’re on the second floor, you will go through to security doors and there you will be. First, they will take your bag and catalog everything you brought with you, making sure you only brought appropriate items. If you are missing any toiletries, they will provide these. Then, you will be taken into a room with a hospital bed and a desk. A behavioral health technician will sit with you and catalog all of your injuries, piercings, and tattoos. She will also give you two gowns and ask you to change.
Once you’ve changed, someone will take the clothes you were wearing and catalog those along with your other belongings. Next, one or two nurses will come to take a medical history and discuss why you are there. You will probably have to answer the question “Are you planning to kill yourself?” multiple times.
Now they will show you around the unit: the nurse’s station, where you will eat, how to operate the TVs, and finally your room. More than likely, your room will have a bed, a desk, a chair, and a bathroom. (When I was there, there was only one patient per room, although some of the rooms did have two beds.) Hopefully by the time they show you your room they will also be giving back the clothes you came in with so that you don’t have to continue wearing the gowns. Note: If you are acutely suicidal and they believe that you are a clear and present danger to yourself, you will not be allowed your own clothes or any of your own belongings.
You will have an appointment with your case manager, the medical doctor, and the psychiatrist each at separate times on the day of your arrival. The case manager will discuss your goals for your stay and an approximate length of stay. The medical doctor will ask you more about your medical history and take care of any standing medical problems you might have. The psychiatrist will discuss your medications with you, make sure the nurses have prescriptions for the medications you’re on, and prescribe anything else you and he or she deem necessary.
Nothing else is required of you except that you turn up for meals and meds. For the first two days, if you want to use your bathroom, you will have to go to the nurse’s station and ask one of them to come unlock it for you. (Note: If you are on suicide watch, your bathroom will remain locked.) If you want to shower, brush your teeth or hair, or wash your hands, you will have to go to the nurse’s station and request your bin. This is a pink plastic bin of all the hygiene items you brought with you. Your room has a door, but not lock – same thing for your bathroom. You can spend all or none of your time in your room. The nurse’s and techs will occasionally check up on you. Visiting hours are from 6 – 7pm Monday through Friday and 3 – 5pm Saturday and Sunday. If you are fully admitted by the time visiting hours arrive, you will be allowed to have visitors, even on your first day.
This is Day One of your hospital stay. You are now officially admitted.
- Kaseman Behavioral Health Hospital: Part I (mentalillnessbytes.wordpress.com)
- Kaseman Behavioral Health Hospital: My Story (mentalillnessbytes.wordpress.com)