No visits in psychiatry

Pas de visites en psychiatrie

The tension is rising in some institutes of mental health who do not allow the patient to emerge, even for a smoke, or to receive visits, after more than three months of confinement.

“It is inhuman to impose a distance like that, when we know how important it is that there is an inking with the real outside the hospital so that they can feel that they still live. Otherwise they are just sick and hospitalized, ” said Claude Hamel, a mother of a patient at the mental health university Institute of Montreal (IUSMM).

Since 13 march, Ms. Hamel can no longer go to see his son, hospitalized after a toxic psychosis eight months ago. It is only by phone that she can speak with him.

Before the crisis of the sars coronavirus, the thirty-year-old had the right to go out every day, go for a walk in Montreal. He could receive visits, to go with his mother or with his father for a week with the permission of his psychiatrist.

Today, he was entitled to three outings per week, 30 minutes each. And when he can’t go outside, even on the balconies, it remains locked in buildings without air-conditioner.

For his mother, these conditions are worse than in prisons.

“The prisoners have the right to go out an hour every day “, avance-t-it.


This cocktail of problems makes the tension in some units, according to Maxime Ste-Marie, acting president of the Union of technicians and professionals of the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) of the Is-de-l’île-de-Montréal, which is also representing the employees of the IUSMM.

“There would be about 30 % more of disruption and aggression in some patients, he argues. It may be spitting in the face of insults or physical assault on a patient or a staff member. “

The situation is the same in the psychiatry department of the Cité-de-la-Santé de Laval, confirms Derek Cyr, vice-president of the Union of nurses, respiratory therapists and nursing assistants of Laval. Several violent attacks have taken place in recent weeks, denounced in a letter of which The Newspaper has had a copy, have even prompted several employees to invoke a right of refusal.


But according to Jean-François Plouffe, in charge of communications for the agency Action independence, the same problems exist at the Institute in mental health Douglas, in Montreal.

For him, the situation is very worrying. It also supports the establishments of health, such as the CIUSSS of the East-of-the-Island-of-Montreal-are responsible ” for the trauma that they are going to have to deal with in the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Claude Hamel has already been able to see that the state of his son regresses.

“I sense of anxiety in him. It has no more human contact outside, it is no longer normal and it does go back into his shell “, she laments.

Applications will be evaluated

Currently, the CIUSSS assesses the visit requests.

“It is necessary that the visit would contribute significantly to the well-being of the user, to an improvement of his general condition ; it may be the respect of the dignity and integrity of the user, and that it brings more, if not as much of benefits than risks for the user,” wrote by e-mail Catherine Dion, public relations media for the CIUSSS.

Seeing little change since the beginning of the déconfinement, Ms. Hamel has decided to file a complaint to the Office of the complaints commissioner of the health facility. It also intends to make a complaint to the ombudsman if there is nothing to advance.

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