Dear Matthew and Neil
Below is some of my thoughts and feelings of what my time and experience has been at Wood Hill Lodge Sheffield
Primarily it’s been hell on earth because of the following
Its be soul destroying having to constantly explain and justify basic care needs, like regular pad changes and drinks
One of the most painful things is having staff on my 1.1 daily who really aren’t interested in me on any level especially an emotional level. Often people will come in, sit down and don’t even say hello to me. No acknowledgement or anything.
Examples of lack of support
One example of this is the other week my night 1.1 came in, sat down and didn’t say anything. This went on for three hours. Eventually, I said to her, that in the three hours she had been there, she hadn’t even acknowledged me or asked if I wanted anything. Her reply was “ well you have capacity, if you want something you can ask” .
It’s really important that you know that there is only one or two staff in a week that actually engage with me. The rest of the time the staff quite simply don’t care. I only have two staff on a night that I feel safe with on a physical and emotional level. Same for day staff,- they’re are only three staff over the week that I feel physically and emotionally safe with.
Whilst I have five staff I feel safe with, only one of those is my permanent 1.1 carer. The others I might not see even in a week, as they get allocated across the building and not necessarily with me.
Staff can be emotionally cruel
I sometimes feel staff can be cruel to me, not just on a physical level (by not doing regular personal care, etc) but the way they speak to me and interact with me. I’m often left feeling I’m a problem and nuisance to them. For example, when I’ve got myself on the floor ( which I do as a coping mechanism when feeling emotionally overwhelmed) I’ve heard people saying I do it as attention seeking. They have proper work to do than hoisting me up again. Believe me when I say they are easier and less emotional ways of getting attention than been emotionally vulnerable on the floor.
I was sent to Woodhill Lodge from the psychiatrist ward as I was told they deal with both complex physical and mental health issues. However, my experience has been that staff have very little awareness of mental health in general and definitely surrounding my own mental health diagnosis. They have not been able to deal with the situation when I’ve expressed.suicidal ideation. Indeed just telling me I’m not in crisis and nothing is wrong. Do they have any idea how much courage it takes to admit those feelings in the first place? Then to be dismissed and not heard, and ultimately let down is so very painful.
Lack Of emotional support
I feel I have received very little empathy or understanding from the staff here. They have little understanding of my background of abuse and trauma and how that impacts my life on a daily basis. When I try to explain to staff why I just can’t sleep in my bed . That been in a bed of any kind sends me back into past trauma. I’m told it’s a mind over matter. To get on with it basically. Can you get much more insensitive that that really?
The staff here see my so called bad behaviour, but not the reasons behind it. For example the other Saturday I was admitted to accident and emergency due to low oxygen levels and extreme pain. The 1.1 carer with me was very verbally abusive towards me. When I was told I had to be admitted to the ward I became so distressed at having to stay in a place I was already feeling very vulnerable in and with a 1.1 who had been nasty to me that I pulled my cannula out to get away from her and to get back home.
Future treatment at risk
I’ve since been told that my doing that could affect my being admitted to the hospital in the future. Again people are seeing the so called behaviour but not for the reasons behind it. This is often the case when I get on the floor. I do it because I’m so overwhelmed with what I’m dealing with here on a daily basis. People just see the so called attention seeking behaviour
I could go on for weeks listing examples of what living here has been like. Those are just a few of them. Where we go from here? I really don’t know. I don’t particularly want to leave here. How do I know anywhere else will be any better, but I also can’t carry in with the way things are. It’s now greatly impacting my already fragile mental health state.