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"Treatment of mental health patients from rural areas"

About: Royal Adelaide Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a carer),

After spending some time in a country hospital my friend was detained under the Mental Health Act ( long term mental illness) as the hospital did not have the facilities to monitor her. She was flown to The Royal Adelaide Hospital and sent to the emergency department. My understanding is that there she was left. It appeared that her medication regime was altered after a quick visit from a doctor two days later. I am led to believe that she was given no medication for two days. By the Sunday she wanted to go home. She cannot recall being given meals nor whether she was allowed to shower. I understand she was assigned a security guard and sedated and was very distressed which exacerbated her illness. When I went to visit her on the Monday she was still where they left her. When I inquired as to her whereabouts to visit, a young nurse at the counter said to another staff member " she's the one that goes off" (I am sure anyone would have in the same situation) and then I found her in the Emergency Dept.on a gurney still. A nurse approached me and said that every day they have a bed meeting and patients are allocated beds. The Royal Adelaide Hospital had had a bed vacant in their mental health unit the whole time but, my understanding is that due to politics it was being held in case a patient came in from the metropolitan area. My friend was from the country you see. The place for them was rural and remote at Glenside but no beds were vacant there. This one kind nurse said that they argued at these meetings that the bed be given to my friend and she said to me that the staff were not allowed to say anything but I should to the media. I never did but wish I had. I feel she has never been the same since and it is our biggest fear that this might happen again now that she is on Clozapine, a medication that can have life threatening side effects if not administered and monitored correctly.

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