"Failed by the system"

About: Maroondah Hospital / Mental Health Adult Inpatient Units (IPU1 and IPU2)

(as a relative),

A few years ago my sibling was diagnosed by IPU1 with Schizophrenia in their early 30s. They were released after a couple of weeks and never continued their treatment. My sibling's condition has deteriorated immensely and they suffer from severe paranoid delusions which are predominantly aimed at my parent who lives with them. Recently, the 15 years worth of pain that have accumulated in my family as a result of my sibling's untreated mental health issues finally started to fall away. 

After multiple attempts opening, closing and re-opening our case, the CATT team pulled through and were able to place an involuntary order on my sibling to ensure they would be taken into the ward for assessment. They had everything they needed on file, had witnessed their behaviour and made a reasonable assessment that they definitely required treatment. After a painful couple of days and a few cat and mouse attempts where my sibling fled the police, they finally timed it right and took them in one morning recently.

Completely bittersweet, gut-wrenching yet finally a path to healing for all of us. We were told to start preparing for the family meeting that would occur in the coming days and build a file of further evidence to assist the psychiatric team to support my sibling as best as possible. This was all very positive. Upon recommendation of the CATT team nurse, we sent a bunch of flowers to the police station and thanked them for their hard work and I received a carers certificate to allow me to take off work to travel from Geelong to be with my family and support my sibling.

It finally felt like the rollercoaster was over. All signs were pointing to the start of a positive outcome.

Until we received a phone call only a very short while after my sibling was admitted saying that they had been released as they were apparently not presenting well and that they certainly had no grounds for them to be admitted. 

Totally blown away. Lost for words. You are absolutely kidding. Why? 

Why did we go through all of that? Why waste police resources chasing down a person for nothing? Why were we fed, in my opinion, utter crap about the treatment that was soon to come when this so-called ‘involuntary admission’ was overturned by someone with a clear lack of understanding for the complexity of the case. 

Why were we not told that it even could be overturned? The way this was handled completely disrespected the opinions of the nurses and doctors who worked incredibly hard with my family over the last few weeks to get this long-awaited outcome to finally happen.

When I found out my sibling had been released, I called the nurse we had been dealing with and I believe they were completely shocked that my sibling had been released as they said that they and the psychiatrist working on my sibling's file were very firm in the opinion that they needed treatment. 

Tell me what the hell is going on when the staff who work so tirelessly to get this outcome aren’t even involved I believe, in the decision to release my sibling.

It is absolutely appalling and I feel you are playing with people's lives. 

We were given no further support and my sibling was left to walk out the door on their own accord with no home to return to except the one where their tired and broken parent resides, who is in despite need of respite from sharing a home with an untreated adult with a chronic mental health condition.

If you read this whole thing and you have a heart, you will attempt to make it right. 

We are going to seek compensation for the, in my opinion, absolutely atrocious way this was handled and I genuinely hope the loopholes in the redundant mental health system are addressed soon.

I believe it’s not good enough. 

The likelihood of further anger and aggression from my sibling has now increased and put my parent under further stress and risk and what will you tell us then? Call the police if something happens? Then I believe some stale mental health worker will make the wrong judgement call and send my sibling home again.

So disappointed.


Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health 3 weeks ago
David Plunkett
Chief Executive,
Eastern Health
Submitted on 20/07/2020 at 12:48
Published on Care Opinion at 12:50

picture of David Plunkett

Dear doradomg59,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your comments regarding the experience you and your family had with your sibling being a patient in the inpatient mental health unit at Eastern Health’s Maroondah Hospital.

I can see you and your family have been supporting your sibling for a considerable period of time to get treatment for their condition. I was pleased to hear how the CATT team nurse worked with you over this time and the positive impact this had for you and your parents. I am sorry your experience when your sibling was admitted to the inpatient unit was not as positive.

In order for us to follow up your particular circumstances, I would like to invite you to contact one of our Patient Relations Advisors in the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience either by calling 1800 EASTERN or by emailing feedback@easternhealth.org.au. If you choose to call please be aware that it is possible that the Patient Relations Advisors may be on another call at the time you ring and if so you will be invited to leave a message so they can return your call.

I hope we hear from you soon.

Kind regards,


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