Yesterday E called from the hospital. It was the first time we’d spoken since we had to have them taken in last Friday. The paranoia and delusions are still strong and E feels they are in hell. E gave a long, somewhat disjointed list of complaints about the place, ranging from bad food and no hot water, to saying the staff and patients alike are evil and horrible and threatening, to claiming the place is filthy, their laundry was stolen and there’s blood on the floor. E wants us to get them a lawyer, or some kind of mental health advocate, apparently under the theory that threatening legal action will get the staff to treat E better. (I guess? Sometimes it’s hard piecing together the logic.)
Since I cannot visit the hospital due to the pandemic (no visitors allowed) I cannot easily verify or dispute E’s claims. Given their history of baseless delusions I can’t help but feel skeptical about a lot of it but at the same time I am aware that the state of institutionalized mental health care is often not great, and if there is anything that can be addressed I would feel remiss in not trying to help.
So I called the staff and asked about some of E’s concerns and it turns out the hospital actually does have a problem with the hot water (apparently they won’t allow the water to get too hot as a safety issue?) and there isn’t anything that can be done. Additionally, the nurse did verify E had requested a dietary accommodation and she said she put in the request for E a few days ago but would follow up on that to be sure it was done. She also said E’s clothes were laundered and returned to E so I don’t know why E is claiming otherwise.
I am not sure what else to do. E even suggested a transfer to another facility but how do we know that would be any better? or even potentially worse? because they take their paranoia with them?
And what would a lawyer/mental health advocate be able to do for E that we can’t?
E is clearly miserable in the hospital and I feel for them but I’m having trouble discerning what are miseries caused by delusions/paranoia and what are actual issues that should be addressed. If not for the pandemic we could visit to judge for ourselves but since we can’t, what do?