Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Writing the Book: Hospitalization Part II

Well...I didn't do much this week except tell stories about how great my tour of the psych ward was last week. (How funny does that sound?) I know I mentioned last week that I need to do another interview with someone who has experience working in inpatient facilities. This time I need someone who works in a state institution, because state-run facilities are different from private facilities.

I posted on a social networking site to see if any of my friends, acquaintances, or colleagues had a connection to Twin Valley, our local state facility. And you know what? One of my friends was supervised by a guy who did his postdoctoral work at Twin Valley. So she put us in contact with each other.  (Katie, you're the best!) He and I have emailed back and forth a few times, and we're going to meet next Thursday to talk. 

I'm pretty excited because he's a forensics specialist. He does things like evaluate whether someone is competent to stand trial, and whether they were "sane" or "insane" at the time of an offense. He's been very enthusiastic about helping me out, and I know I'm going to come out of that interview loaded with lots of great information.

Let's see, what else can I tell you about my visit last week? Well, I know I told you how they'd suicide proofed everything. One thing they had done was use piano hinges on the doors instead of regular hinges. Regular hinges -- especially on big, heavy institutional doors -- stick out (see top picture at right), and someone could loop a sheet or something over it and hang themselves. (Hanging seemed to be the big concern.)   There's no way to loop something over a piano hinge (see bottom picture at right), and the hinges go from floor to ceiling, so there's no gap between the door and the jamb, either.