What are your thoughts on long term hospitalization for mental health issues?

Jennifer - posted on 09/13/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Our son is 9. In the past five years he has ran away twice had two er intakes, one five day stay at a local mental health facility,done four weeks of partial care, spent eight months living at my parents and most recently a summer of therapeutic camp. We have had family based services for ten months and things are not getting better. He was given a month to get it together, with constant supervision, which as you all know meas no sleep for mom. The physiatrist feels that it is time to permanently remove him from our home due to the safety of our other four children. I really want to plow through but my husband and I are at a point where we have exhausted all other options. Please reply if you have any positive or negative feedback about where we are headed.

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SHEILA - posted on 09/15/2010

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First of, I sympathize with all involved and your little guy who has to go through this. I definately understand the recommendation would not have come lighty (from the professional's side) nor would you consider it unless you feel you have exhausted all your options. Basing my opinion on our own agonizing decission with our special needs child (we had to decide to instituinalize, give up for adoption, or turn to palative care)......I would look into options similar to long-term hospitalization that would give you the same benefits (ie. the child gets constant medical and professional supervision and family is able to function again). These options I am referring to could be:

- enrolment into room and board type schooling that deals with children with similar issues, but feels more like going to boarding school instead of an institution

- employing a full-time caregiver that follows him through out the day/night but he can still be at home and part of the family life

- or employing a full-time medical home-support personnel that would also follow him

him through out the day /night but he can still be at home and part of the family life

- or a half and half, where he goes to a supervised day-type school and comes home with a caregiver/ medical personnel to take care of the rest of the time

These options could be costly depending on where you live and what is made available through govt. funded programs etc. Maybe piecing together portions that could be covered by say an extended health plan + govt funded programs + funding from mental health associations could make it feasible. Just my thoughts. All the best to you guys.

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Chaya - posted on 08/04/2012

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I was treated with long term inpatient care as a teenager. I don't want to be a killjoy, but you need the truth.
If you put him in long term care, you will loose him for good. He'll probably come out of it far angrier than he went in. Once he turns 18, you'll see him once a year if that, he'll leave and never look back.
My question is ths: what is going on that's causing the behaviour? Mental illness may be the issue, but just as likely, it's abuse. Not making an accusation, but 99% of the children who are being abused are being abused by people they know, not necessarily and not even likely the parents. Ask the child. Many people knew my dad's wife and several of my siblings were the problem, but the right siblings were screwing the right people to keep the problem under wraps.
I know this thread is old, but it is important to look at all possibilites. It could be that abuse isn't the issue, but it needs to be investigated.

JESSICA - posted on 09/26/2010

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hello i know exactly what your going through and how you feel.i have a 9 year old son who has been out of control since he was 4 years old.he's been diagnosed with adhd,odd,and bipolar disorder.since he was 5 years old,its been non stop to the local e.r,residential placements,short term hospital stays etc.my son has also ran away twice,tried to kill himself by putting a belt around his neck,and biting himself until he bleeds.im also very concerned for my two other children because my son becomes very violent and once he's in that state of mind theres nothing to control him.ive had in home services for 3 years which didnt help much.ive also had to make a difficult choice on whether to keep him home or put him in a place where they can help him more than i can.i decided to keep him home with me only because all the places he was sent to were horrible.my son went through more being out of my home then in.he;s currently in therapy and there changing his meds around until they find something that will help him.i am always next to my son when he's with his brothers just in case he becomes viloent.ive also had to put a lock on the outside of his bedroom door to keep him safe and everyone else safe while he's in time out.its gonna be a long road with either decision you make but please keep in mind that children can change and from my personal experience alot of places for children mistreat them horribly.i hope this helps.thankyou,jessica

Alahnna - posted on 09/25/2010

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just wanted to give you a hug, it sounds like you're going through a lot right now *hugs*

Jennifer - posted on 09/25/2010

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Thank you for all the suggestions and good wishes. My husband and I have found a wonderful 18 month program that seems to fit our sons needs perfectly. We are not that thrilled with the length but after talking to the director we understand why. The program is run by a few churches which was always a concern of ours. They have him at the top of the list and if we can just have him hold on till January he has the spot. The director was very familiar with the Hospital were our son would be going and said they had many boys from that particular one. This made it even more clear to me that hospitalization is not for our child. The camp works to keep him at his school performance level for his district. Another sigh of relief. He is going to love being there it looks like a big boyscout camp! He has no problem leaving and wants to stay at every facility were he is placed. I believe that our prayers have been answered. They said that their whole goal is it get him to live with us for good with no more intakes. What a thought, not to have the rug pulled out from under you every three to four months. I know that we are going to miss him and that it is not going to be easy. However, what if it does make a difference? What a blessing that will be. Thanks again to all of you and my prayers are with you. I know you know how awful this whole subject is.

Jennifer - posted on 09/17/2010

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I have a seven year old who I have had intaked three times now. He started at 3 when he stayed for a month at a hospital lockdown unit. He has also had to intakes that were for a week each while we found new medications to help him deal. Recently, I applied for a grant for at home services. It allows for so much nurse time with an accredited member from which ever facility or service I choose that is covered. This means that if I just need to sleep through the night for 8 hours I can do this. I found this through my local therapy facility in my county. I am sure they have something similar in each state. Ethan was so bad at one point that he ran away every five minutes. I was actually approached by local law enforcement that if I did not get him under control I would go to jail. I choose to keep going even though I am single momming it and still married right now. I think in some instances you have to make sure in your heart that what you do is best for the child. I know this b/c the hardest thing I did was allow them to take Ethan that first time when he was three. I also found that I could live with what would happen as long as I know that I did everything I could for him. Runaways, dangerous behaviors and all of that can really exhaust a person until you feel there is no hope. But you must remember that you want what is best for that child. A long term hospitalization can sometimes give the child that needed one on one that is impossible when you have multiple children. It can also relieve stress from the entire situation and allow you time to come up with better options. Or for your child to out grow the problems he is now facing.

Tracey - posted on 09/16/2010

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My son (severe autism and brain damage) was very challenging around ages 9 - 10 and school suggested residential care but we turned then down and said we would keep him at home, now age 12 he is much better - could be due to growing pains and hormones, most kids get a surge between ages 6 - 8.
Whatever you decide good luck.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/14/2010

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First of all, (((((HUGS)))))
Even though he is only 9, the same age as my son, I would listen to the psychiatrist's advice. It sounds like you have done everything you can do to try to help your son now it looks like it's time for the professionals to do what they can to help your son. I know it is an agonizing decision and I have been fortunate not to have to make that decision yet even though we have come close on several occasions. The safety of you and your family are extremely important and if you feel that you can no longer keep your son or other children safe then I would definitely do a long term hospitalization for him. This way the doctors can do a complete evaluation and figure out what all is going on with your son and what direction to go with his mental health care. I would not want him permanently removed from your home. I would want him to be able to come back home once there is a better treatment plan in place for him and he is stable enough to return to the family. Please remember in all this to take care of yourself too. Let us know how things are going.

Iridescent - posted on 09/13/2010

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He's 9. He's not even to the point where he's getting testosterone and other hormone bursts from pre-puberty and puberty. He's wild and out of hand right now, and what you're doing isn't working (and you've tried quite a lot). If he continues down this path, your family is going to be ragged within a couple months, and there is a high likelihood of divorce or separation due to the stress and safety need for your other children. When he gets bigger, and you're unable to fight back and he becomes violent due to the hormones and lack of control... It's setting him up for failure to keep the situation as is. I'd do the long term hospitalization (my opinion). I'd also request they do some testing to find out what the cause of his problems are if you don't know. It sounds like it's not parenting, it's not lack of attention, it's not poor choices on your part. So it's something else. A lot of genetic disorders can cause mental health symptoms, so what can it hurt to run nuclear DNA testing and mitochondrial DNA testing to screen? If it's the cause, that can be treated (perhaps even before hospitalizing) with good result. Different medications work in these cases, as the typical usually won't. If you do this, I'd suggest chromosome mitomet microarray at Baylor for the nDNA and MitoDx from Medomics for the mtDNA. Medomics is also making a much more accurate nDNA test, but it's not ready to use, so Baylor is currently the best.

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