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Cernunnos
Contributor

Spouse in treatment facility refusing to allow visitation

Hi all - I've been scanning these forums for over a week now and really looking for sensible advice.

My partner of 18 years had a mental health episode involving hallucinations last week for which I took her to her GP, which she agreed was necessary.  The GP did the usual check with her, with me out of the room, that I was not being abusive or coercive, and satisfied i wasn't let me back into the room.  She gave a strategy for tests and an escalation plan to ED.

That evening she had to be admitted to ED, and then transferred as a voluntary patient to a "low risk" intensive care ward.  The next day she awoke not knowing how she got there and attacked me for getting her admitted without consent. She articulated that I've basically guaranteed divorce. Throughout the day she came to accept she needed to be there, and was diagnosed with PTSD. Her mood was normal with me in the afternoon and accepting of the way forward together. She was allowed to discharge the next day with a prescription for a low dose of meds.

However within 6 hours of her discharge she had a major episode and had to be readmitted through ED. She was fast tracked back to the unit - however I ensured the Mental Health Nurse carefully articulated the voluntary admission process and the authority of the doctor to permit discharge provided there was a sufficient care & support plan.

Once back in the ward she turned hostile on me again - holding a seemingly incompatible view that she needed to stay there as long as it was necessary, but again I had facilitated in the violation of her rights through the original admission. I recognised there was no way to reason with her and left for my own psychological safety.

Today I returned to the ward with a bag of clothes - and the front desk nurse made it clear that she had expressed a wish that I not be permitted to enter her room.  I recognised the risk if I insisted and left voluntarily.  As you can imagine, this has been incredibly distressing, and I have activated my mental health support networks to cope.

I am now in a quandary - I can likely call each morning to ascertain whether her mood has shifted permitting me to see and support her. But if it doesn't, and she is considered to have enough decision making capacity to remain voluntary, it would appear I would be effectively cut out understanding her treatment plan or being involved in any strategy on future discharge.

I think you might understand I am very worried about whether this is a prelude to something that forces me to vacate our home - do I need to have a preliminary discussion with a lawyer if this continues. We also have a 12 year old son who has been very aware of his mothers behaviour throughout this.  These fears might also be for nothing as she is only 2 days into titration on the meds, it might all come good.

Appreciate any sensible advice as I am at a loss as to what to do next.

30 REPLIES 30

Re: Spouse in treatment facility refusing to allow visitation

Dear @Cernunnos ,

 

Thank you for reaching out. I hear there is so much going on for you and I hope forum members will be able to share their experiences with you and provide insight into what is happening.

 

After reading your post, it sounds like your spouse is not well at all. The comments/accusations cut and hurt, but at this vulnerable time, I hope you can see that it is her illness speaking and not herself. Unless people show acuity in their illness, they are not normally admitted - hence, your spouse is most likely not in a great space.

 

From what it seems, you are her unofficial 'carer'. Perhaps you can speak to her treating team as opposed to her directly? If you are living together, upon discharge, you will be the one to 'care' for her - care and support plan will be placed upon you.

 

You made a wise move in stepping away when things became too much. At this time, it is important to remember your own mental health and well as that of your 12 year old.

 

It's a challenging time, but please know you are not alone. We have many members here who have also shared a similar experience in caring for a loved one. @Krishna @Anastasia 

 

Keep in touch,

tyme

Re: Spouse in treatment facility refusing to allow visitation

Welcome @Cernunnos  I am truly sorry for all your family is enduring at present. I can relate to your concerns as I have had a very similiar experience with my daughter over the years. Unless your partner expresses that you are not to be informed of her progress, you should be able to receive updates from the nursing staff and in time, the social worker at the hospital. A lot of patience is required for now as they may keep her in for observation before a diagnosis is made. It’s so very distressing and I truly sympathise with you. Try and take one day at a time before jumping to future conclusions. Take good care of yourself and your son for now and as you mentioned, the medication may very well stabilise your partners situation. It simply takes time. I really hope for the best possible outcome for you all. 

Re: Spouse in treatment facility refusing to allow visitation

Thank you both @tyme and @Krishna  for your responses.

I think I am at risk of jumping ahead.  I believe this is just a panic reaction of trying to find control in a situation I cannot reasonably be expected to be in control of. I also intellectually know her comments are "the condition" and not her, it is just the emotional response can be more difficult to regulate when faced with this experience.

I have an appointment with my psychologist tomorrow and so am focussing on keeping myself in the best possible place, so I am capable of providing the assistance she will need. 

Re: Spouse in treatment facility refusing to allow visitation

That’s great @Cernunnos that you are seeing your psychologist. Take one day at a time. And yes it’s something you have no control over and cannot fix. Accepting this is difficult but essential for your own well-being. It’s hard watching a loved one experience this and your partner is where she needs to be for now. Take good care 🙏 Just look after yourself and son in the meantime and reach out here anytime you need to simply vent. 

Re: Spouse in treatment facility refusing to allow visitation

Take a breath. Take another. Try to focus on yourself and your son while she's being looked after by the hospital. Keep ringing every morning to find out if she wants to talk to you, but also ask her treating team what you can do to support her without being in contact with her - e.g. if you dropped off some of her clothes and had the nurses give them to her. When I went to hospital, the air conditioning system was always freezing us to death, so she may appreciate a warm jumper or some slippers from her wardrobe, even if you are still persona non grata. Maybe some of her favourite teabags might also be a goer.

Re: Spouse in treatment facility refusing to allow visitation

@Gwynn - thank you for those suggestions.

The ward coffee is pretty bad - I don't think they would allow a plunger due to the glass but Vittoria coffee bags might be a good half way. 🙂

Re: Spouse in treatment facility refusing to allow visitation

I found when I was staying in hospital that the communal milk was drunk from the bottle by the young men, so it wasn't hygienic for me to drink. I adapted to just having coffee with milk in the morning, when I got an individual bottle of milk for my cereal/coffee. This may be different at your wife's facility. I'm sure that after a few days of hospital coffee, she will really appreciate the coffee bags.

Maybe a blank exercise book for journalling/drawing/scrap paper, a colouring in book or a crossword magazine or a sudoku book and a personal pencil case with pencils might also be appreciated?

Usually there's a bit more 'dead time' on the weekends, so when she's open to visitors, you might preferentially visit on the weekend.

Re: Spouse in treatment facility refusing to allow visitation

So, an update.

My wife was transferred from a short stay ward to a longer term ward last night - not that anyone from the hospital contacted me about this, I found this out after not receiving the doctors call back I was promised.

I called the new ward this morning, and she hadn't been seen by the new clinical team yet. So I called back at 3.30pm, to be told the treating doctor was busy but would call me back.  4.30 pm rolls on and no call - I call the ward, and the doctor has now left for the day.  Told that I should hopefully get a call by 10.00 am.  No information available to me on treatments, reconsiderations of diagnosis or how she was other than "tired".

So, I am guessing that I am entering the new phase of this adventure called "Let The Carers Chase For The Information.... "

Tips & strategies appreciated!

Re: Spouse in treatment facility refusing to allow visitation

Update 2.

My wife sent me a text message last night saying it was ok for me to come and visit her.

 

I bought some premium coffee bags & chai which she greatly appreciated - and we had a positive interaction. It was short however, as she wanted to write what was going on in her head and agreed I should come back at 2pm.

 I returned at 2pm - and she didn't know who I was. She thought I was one of the hospital psychologists.

So there is the reality check I have been waiting for. In some ways it has eliminated unreasonable expectations about how this might progress, and has instilled a "certainty" of how unpredictable each day could be.  It means if I can't go in, I can manage the guilt.

Now I am just waiting for the Drs to re-evaluate a diagnosis - which may take some time. Today is the first day since readmission that she has even engaged openly with anyone. Little victories.

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