Getting to an immediate “safe” place may be as easy as dragging yourself step by step out of the room that you are experiencing your crisis in and into a safer place in your home. Make sure you avoid high risk areas like the kitchen, for instance. There are too many things you can harm yourself with like knives and other potentially dangerous implements. After you have been able to place some emotional and physical distance between you and your crisis environment, by finding an immediate place of safety, you will ultimately want to make your way to a hospital emergency ward.
It is not recommended that you drive yourself to a “safe” place when you are in extreme emotional distress. You may not be able to properly focus on the road. Your support person can help you to get to a “safe” place by driving or guiding you there. An ambulance may be the only vehicle equipped to take you if you have critically injured yourself, you may need to call 911. If you don’t have a support person to take you to the hospital you may want to think about taking a taxi, if you are not physically injured. You don’t have to interact with the taxi cab driver, just make sure he knows where to go. You can drive yourself to the hospital if there is no other way to get there, just make sure you force yourself to drive responsibly. If you find yourself experiencing an anxiety attack or you just can’t deal with the road, pull over and take a few minutes to gather your strength.
Suggested Ways Of Getting To A “Safe” Place:
– Have a support person drive you
– Have a support person escort you on public transit
– Have a support person ride with you in a taxi
– Drive yourself responsibly to the hospital
– Contact an ambulance if critically injured
– If in walking distance, and you are capable, have your support person walk with you there.
Step Three: Hospital Admittance Process
When you arrive at the hospital you will be expected to admit yourself to the emergency ward. This is different from admitting to the hospital itself. You are not actually admitted to the hospital just because you are seen and tended to in the emergency ward. If you have critically injured yourself (or are experiencing delirium) and have been brought in by paramedics, most of the emergency ward admittance process will be taken care of for you. You will, however, still be expected to answer questions and aid the nurses in assessing your condition if you are still capable of coherent communication skills.
The first place you will be expected to go is the emergency ward admittance desk. There they will hand you some important forms telling the hospital pertinent medical information about you. You will be expected to fill them out to the best of your abilities in the waiting room area. After you have filled out those forms you are expected to return them to the nurse at the admittance desk. The nurse will process your information and when it is your turn she will call you back to the desk. Then she will go over the information you have given on the forms to make sure it is all up to date and accurate. This is when she will inquire as to what your condition is and what has brought you to the emergency ward at that present time. This is not the time to spill everything about your current crisis. She is only an admittance clerk. She is taking information that will aid the doctors and nurses in your care when you actually are admitted to the emergency ward itself. After the nurse has gone over your information and entered it into the system you will be expected to once again take your place in the waiting room area and wait your turn.
This is when it can get a little rough. You may have to wait several hours before you are seen, so be prepared. The waiting room can be filled with all sorts of characters, some may be quiet and stick to themselves, while others may moan or complain the whole time. This predicament can be rather uncomfortable, especially when large rooms and lots of people may cause you great anxiety. Sometimes, if you are lucky, the emergency room nurses will sympathize with your condition and allow you to wait in a private room apart from other people. It is during the long wait that your support person can really become a blessing. They are a friendly face in a sea of intimidating strangers and they can help to keep you company during the long wait times, plus keep you from freaking out. People are tended too in the order that they arrive and sign in. There are however, exceptions such as life or death situations, broken bones, and other serious injuries. Make sure your support person can wait as long as it takes.
When your name finally is called you will be escorted to an examination area, sometimes a separate room, other times it can be a large room partitioned by curtains. A nurse will appear and take your vitals (your pulse, your blood pressure, and treat any wounds that you may have). When that is done usually another nurse will visit you and talk to you about your condition. This is someone you may want to talk to about your crisis. But, don’t get into great detail; she is collecting information for the doctor. It is when the doctor comes to see you that you will want to spill the beans on your mental health status. You may want to tell the nurses if you are a risk to yourself and placing you alone in a room full of sharp instruments may not be the best idea. You must expect long wait times during this part of the process as well. You may be in an examination room for an hour before you actually see the doctor on call. You can get shuffled around a bit too, from one examination room to the next.
The psychiatrist on call in the hospital, or a regular doctor, depending on the time of day, will come and talk with you. Tell him everything about your crisis and how well you are managing it. Make sure you mention to him if you are suicidal or inclined to hurt yourself. The doctor will ask you a series of questions to properly assess your mental and emotional state. Answer these questions as openly and honestly as you can. The doctor will then decide whether you need hospitalization or not. If he decides that you are in need of hospitalization he will consult with the nurses and arrange for you to be admitted to the hospital psyche ward. At this time you will receive a wrist band to wear signifying that you have been admitted to the actual hospital. It will have your name and admitting doctor’s name on it. They may also give you another band to wear if you have any allergies.
Thus begins yet another waiting process in the emergency ward itself until a bed opens up on the psyche ward. You could wait an hour or a whole night, it all depends. I once had to wait on a hospital bed in the hallway of an emergency ward for a whole night and part of a day. It was very traumatic, I was experiencing an extreme case of anxiety, the rush and bustle of the emergency ward made it very uncomfortable. People bumped my bed, there were horrible accident victims soaked in blood being pushed past me, there was no privacy, the noise was constant, a man suffered a heart attack in the room next to me, you could cut the tension with a knife, and it was impossible to sleep. Be aware of the fact that it may not be a pleasant wait whether you are in the waiting room or in an emergency examination room. You may have to wait in the hallway of the emergency ward or share a large curtained area with other patients. An emergency ward is not a place people come to because they are happy and healthy. It is a busy hectic place with lots of unhappy unhealthy people, some of which are in crisis just like you. So be warned. Don’t let this scare you off, it is only part of the process.
You are expected to take care of your own possessions; this is when a support person can be handy and hold onto your purse for you. You should also not bring very many possessions to the hospital emergency ward, wait until you have been placed on the psyche ward before you bring things like clothes, etc. Your support person or family can bring all those things later when you are certain you have been admitted and have a bed. When a bed finally opens on the psyche ward you will be ushered upstairs to the ward itself, chaperoned of course, usually by an orderly or nurse. And thus ends the admittance process, or at least the emergency room admittance. You will be subject to an admittance process on the ward as well, but that is mainly a series of interviews with your principle nurses and a briefing of the ward and its rules.
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