The Unit. Day 28

Sleepless night, worrying about the end of Section 2. Then a last minute meeting at the unit this morning with LB’s head teacher, teacher, Vicki (a Charlie’s Angel), and unit team members to discuss his return to school. Bit of a rocky start to school return yesterday. He was taken to the primary site (as far as we can tell) and refused to get out of the car. “I’m confused”, he said.

Team LB Ed were impressive throughout the meeting.  I was bemused by the vigorous writing down of the descriptions they provided of LB’s decline into “CRISIS” (beginning to seriously hate this term) when I’d already told so many professionals about this, but hey ho. Engagement at any level is engagement. It was also a reminder of how dire things had got.

The gap between education and health was palpable but also manageable with flexibility and a shared concern for LB. Plans were made for him to be supported to return to Trax and the farm with unit staff accompanying him. Sensible, informed engagement.  Good. The ending of Section 2 was discussed. This would be discharged (?) today with an anticipation that he would agree to stay as an informal patient. If he wanted to come home, the mental capacity team would be called in. A further section unlikely because he’s currently a chill pill.

‘Er, can we be told whether he’s an informal patient or issued (?) with a DoLS (deprivation of liberty safeguard)?’ Oh yes. Action point; keep parents informed. No words.

The meeting finished with a new Team LB Ed/Health (Yowsers) and a general love-in about how much better LB had become over the last month. It was genuinely heartwarming and sealed with a cheeky smile from LB when we left.  “Tsk”, I said to head teacher, as she had a weep outside the unit, “The crying days are over, we’re moving on to better places”.

Later that afternoon I got a call from the unit. LB wanted to know if I was going to visit tomorrow. “Eh???? Really??? Yes of course I will. I can come now if he wants?” I hadn’t arranged to visit this afternoon because I saw him before and after the meeting this morning. After a quick check I was told, yes, LB wanted me to visit today.

Five minutes later I was driving in the sunshine, humming to the radio, loving stupidly the fact that LB was actually asking to see me.

As soon as I saw him I kind of recognised but ignored the signs. I gave him the photos of the forensic police investigating Rosie’s break-in. “YOU LIAR!!!“, he shouted, raging. And, instantly, we were back to four weeks ago.

I don’t know what’s happened since I left him there, around 6pm. I rang later and was told he was still very, very agitated. I read into that; possible restraint? Medication? Harm to staff? Almost definitely no Trax tomorrow if medicated?  A Section 3???? I don’t know.

And LB in deep, deep distress.

Now, I don’t know, they don’t know and maybe (as often is the case) we’ll never know, why he got so distressed so suddenly. I’m sure it’s to do with the fact they had to inform him of his rights and the ‘discharge’? of the section. It’s the only thing that’s changed between this morning’s chill bear dude and this afternoon. I don’t know what was said to him about this discharge from section? (Is it a set statement that’s read out, or a more measured interpretation that he might understand?) I think he thought he was coming home when I turned up tonight. What else could account for him asking if I was going to visit, and his immediate distress when I did.

He can’t possibly understand the complexities of the Mental Capacity Act or the Mental Health Act (as is the case for a lot of people including me).  To expose him to either in a “thinking” capacity is cruel and unnecessary. Especially as he doesn’t really have a choice about staying or leaving.  The system is seriously flawed.

28 days later.

5 thoughts on “The Unit. Day 28

  1. It sounds so difficult and I’m sorry I can’t offer any more than sympathy and many many virtual hugs which, of course, I do. I am worried though about the way the ward talk about their use of the ‘Mental Capacity Act’ if he tries to leave and that seems to be verging on unlawful. It isn’t an either/or with mental health/mental capacity act legislation. Restraining an ‘informal’ patient who lacks the capacity to make a decision about whether to stay or not seems to be flying pretty close to the ‘unlawful detention’ grounds. I’ve left my email address. Please do email me if you feel able to and I’m sorry for interfering and wish you and family all the best.

    • When our son had his section removed was given a printed sheet with pictures which though very good meant nothing to him, as he was 16 the staff waited until we could visit to read him his rights as an informal patient. It was a rather embarrassing as we all knew he did not have a clue what was being read to him,and not because of his mental health but the fact that he is severely learning disabled something that seems to be very difficult and poorly understood by professionals who are following processes

      • There seems to be such gaps (a gulf?) between genuinely enabling people and trying but failing (through lack of understanding, genuine commitment or the constraints in the system that mean it’s unattainable). And then the innovation supposedly offered by the Mental Capacity Act becomes a chain. Sigh.

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