The podcast for this topic aired on March 30, 2023
Confusing emergency room full of noises
“Gina, they are talking about me. You need to go over there.”
Delusions, paranoia and confusion
Exacerbated by a hospital stay due to pneumonia
On top of Parkinson’s Disease
Dementia is misunderstood
Some people think all dementia is Alzheimer’s
When in fact, there are many types of dementia and they manifest in different ways
Education, knowledge and experience
Laking even in health care professionals
And the people who are most hands on with the patients have the least amount of education
Why is that?
Shouldn’t the people with the most education regarding dementia, Parkinson’s, mental illness,…
Be the ones who spend the most time with the patients
Instead of behind desks, pushing papers
Geriatric care and acute care rehabilitations hospital juxtaposed with behavioral health inpatient care
I travel back and forth between caring for my father and my child
The Sandwich Generation
Parenting children, parents, and myself
At 79 and 81 my parents need my help more than ever before
A new chapter of my life
My father has needed more attention since his Parkinson’s diagnosis, hip surgery, back surgeries
And now after being hospitalized 10 days due to pneumonia
Physical illness affects the mind
The brain is part of our body
Dementia is exacerbated by other medical conditions and acute illness
Dementia is a progressive illness
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological disorder
Navigating aging and the loss of independence
In the context of my professional experience working in adult and geriatric rehabilitations
But this is my father!
And this is my child
Who suffers in part due to side effects of medications
Medications that can cause the same effects of the things they are intended to treat
Did you know that antidepressants can increase depression especially in children and adolescents
Did you know that antipsychotics can cause psychosis?
Would we take a medication for cancer or heart disease that could lead to more cancer or heart disease?
Or do we…
The brain is part of the body
And until we stop separating mental illness from physical illness the stigma remains
Mental illness can and certainly does manifest in physical illness
The brain is part of the body
When someone suffers from mental illness it is because the brain is not functioning properly
Just like when you have heart disease, the arteries are clogged or the heart is malfunctioning
“Most scientists believe that mental illnesses result from problems with the communication between neurons in the brain (neurotransmission). For example, the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin is lower in individuals who have depression.”National Library of Medicine: Information about Mental Illness and the Brain
When a child enters the hospital due to mental illness, they are labeled as behavioral health patients
An admission to the hospital for mental illness is usually due to the behaviors that manifest because of the brain malfunctioning
The system has different rules when you are in the emergency department for mental illness
Some of those rules make sense like restricting objects that can be used to hurt themselves or others
“For youth ages 10-14, suicide is the second leading cause of death.”National Library of Medicine
Yet, the rules can be ridiculous in the context of how they manifest
No knives allowed also means no plastic knives for cutting food
Yet, a plastic fork has a sharper edge than a plastic knife
My child was given a chicken breast with a plastic fork and spoon
With no way to cut the meat, she had to pick the entire breast up with the fork and eat it like meat on a stick
No personal electronics allowed
Which can make sense in the context of drug abuse, negative influence of peers, abuse, and to minimize cyber bullying
Yet, in 2023, how do most of us communicate?
Being disconnected from the rest of the world, from friends and family
Is that really in the interest of a person’s mental health?
Someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has intrusive thoughts that lead to the compulsive behaviors
Having the ability to distract the mind from the intrusive thoughts can be a temporary coping strategy
Taking away the tool that the person with OCD might use to occupy their mind
Taking away the familiar comforts of home
Is this really in their best interests for their mental health?
Be physically active,
Eat health foods
Use stress management and relaxation techniques
Cut back on drinking caffeinated beverages
Keep a journalFrom the Mayo clinic, Tips for coping with anxiety include
Isn’t it ironic that eating healthy foods is top on the list and yet it is one area where hospitals consistently fail.
When will they realize that the food they are providing is contributing to the problem?
When will we wake up and take action and make needed changes?
If not you, then who?
If not know, then when?