Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Hospital and forcing non-psych meds

My son is hospitalized long term at our state hospital. He is doing very well and able to get along just fine. Recently there were two occasions where he was required to take medications that he didn’t feel he needed. One was Tamiflu, given to all residents of this large facility when there was a small outbreak in another building. No one was tested, it was given prophylactic-ally. In addition, all buildings were quarantined within themselves. No one on his unit was ill. My son was not given an option, he was told he must take it or it would be given in an alternate way. After discussion with me, he decided to take it since the side effects were few.
Yesterday he called saying the nurse wanted to give him two different antibiotics for a small sore he had on his chin. He said he shaved off a zit and then picked at it. I saw it last week and it didn’t look bad. The doctor came and cultured it, then prescribed two kinds of antibiotics, calling it cellulitis. I had previously advised him to use a warm compress to it several times a day, don’t touch it with his hands, and keep it clean. He has done all these things, the redness is less, and the area is scabbed over.
He has lived a very healthy, holistic lifestyle and has only had antibiotics once in his life for an ear infection. His immune system is strong. He would like to not take the antibiotics and continue his first aid care for it for another day or so until the culture comes back. He presented this to the nurse, who kind of insisted that he would have to take it. He called me again and we discussed pros and cons and he decided that unless he was forced to take it, he would listen to his body. He says it is resolving. His counselor didn’t disapprove and told him to talk to the nurse again.
The problem is- my son is worried that refusing a medication, any medication- will count against him in his quarterly evaluation. It happened one before when he asked for a med reduction which they felt was inappropriate- it became a worry that he wouldn’t be able to manage medication on his own.
He called me again for advice and I’m in a dilemma- I feel he has a right to refuse a “just in case” antibiotic. I would advise him to take whichever one the wound is sensitive to if it wasn’t getting better but I believe his strong immune system and first aid care will fix it.
I told him the decision was up to him, he should talk to his counselor about his worry about being dinged on it, and then make his own decision.
It’s not really a big problem, but he is beginning to want to make some decisions on his own and his health is important to him and I want to support that without setting him back in their one-size-fits-all behavior program. He is doing so very well in all areas otherwise.

If the Dr. cultured his wound and found cellulitis, antibiotics are definitely needed. Its not a" just in case". It should be taken seriously.
He could speak to the Dr. About Tamiflu, more than likely other patients my be spreading the flu and they don’t want him to get it.

It sounds like they are taking good care of him and he is taking care of himself! That must make you very happy.

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My sister had cellulitis on her face and she said they take it extra seriously because it is so close to your brain.

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Update: “zit” has healed without issue and without antibiotics with twice daily compresses and additional hygiene. I am a nurse and have monitored and advised him and feel he made the decision against antibiotics appropriately. If there had been pain or redness or additional signs of infection I would have advised differently. It remains to be seen if his refusal of antibiotics will count against him.
Now we all have to deal with the Covid-19 virus. Visits are still being allowed but everyone is being screened before going in. I am on the fence about visiting because I work with elders and have been self-isolating as much as possible and trying to avoid crowds.
Wash your hands, everyone!

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Not to change the subject but, how did you Get him into a facility long-term?

Well, in a nutshell, he injured me with a knife during psychosis at age 20 and was charged with first degree assault with a deadly weapon, spent a year in jail, got a NGRI (Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity) verdict and was committed to the hospital for care and treatment. He is doing very well, though and is asking for a conditional release through the courts, which I am supporting. I am grateful the we seem to be seeing the light at the end of this particular tunnel.

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I am so glad for you both and how things have turned out in the long run. It has been a hard battle for you.