Today I have posted the letter I have sent to the governor in the State Of Washington.
I would ask those interested, concerned, and touched by Lindsay's journey to please make your voice heard by writing the governor and others within our state government representation arenas.
Click here to contact the Governor of WA state, via email, written letter or phone call.
I would kindly ask that you please show civility in your correspondence
My letter to the Governor January 17, 2010
The right to an active therapeutic treatment process including individualized treatment plans and the execution of those written plans (including outdoor time daily) should be mandatory for patients at Western State Hospital without arbitrary point based achievement systems.
Patients should not have to earn the right to an active treatment process or outside time based on a point based level system (which in many cases are arbitrary and beyond the capabilities/capacity of special needs and PDD patients).
Patients should be able to go outside whether they smoke or not, whether they have a level or not. Patients, in fact should have a daily outdoor time required as part of their active treatment plan. Even convicted felons in institutional settings are given fresh air/outdoor time mandated by law.
My Friend, Lindsay, age 22 with a diagnosis of developmentally delayed and mental illness label is a current patient at WSH. I have been told on multiple occasions there was not funding or staff to take her and other patients outside, that she could not go outside during a medication change, and that she was a flight risk so was moved to an area, with an enclosed outdoor area accessible to her, and after 5 days she still has not gone outside. If fact I suspect professional staff at Western State Hospital are now acting in retribution against Lindsay for efforts made on her behalf by family and advocates.
It does not take a medical degree to conclude that the longer a person is locked up in a controlled and artificially limiting environment, there would be increased agitation events, a digression in functioning capabilities/status, and that this in itself runs counterproductive to the least restrictive orders and law relating to civilly committed patients at Western State Hospital.
I would hope you would take a moment to imagine what it might be like being locked away in a very constricted environment with 30 other patients with varying degrees of Mental Health conditions without an active treatment process or fresh air time for over a month.
Then, remember this hospitalization is the result of a transfer from another hospital, so the outdoor time (lack thereof) is actually nearly 5 months. It appears that using a civil right to fresh air is being arbitrarily used against patients, which is degrading and inhumane.
Common sense and moral humanity should prevail at the end of the day with this dire situation that is presented in this letter. Imagine if you will how good it would feel for you to go outside in the fresh air and sun light after being confined in an artificially restrictive environment such as to be locked up on a psychiatric ward at Western State Hospital.
This appears to be unconscionable treatment and care being provided to an honorable young woman that has been sent to WSH for being a vulnerable citizen, a probable victim of harm and exploitation from society.
We must as stewards and servants of this State, provide and insist upon the highest minimum standards of humane care for some of the most vulnerable citizen populations.
We are spending more dollars and expend more resources to prison and forensic populations than we do on these civilly committed and needy in-firmed individuals. I would present to you governor that this must change.
All patients (including Lindsay) must be given active treatment options and services that effectively lead to wellness and assimilation back into our communities. We must demand accountability and oversight to make sure this comes to pass by DSHS and Clinicians before further damage and suffering is inflicted upon our citizens.
Simple request for time outdoors, to run and play and feel once again like a valued and dignified human being should not be met by loved ones with excuses, resistance, and retribution by care providers. After all, do we have to be reminded that these valued human beings are not prisoners of the state or have committed any crime other than being simply determined ill?
I would ask you to consider directly contacting WSH and DSHS, while speaking to them about current conditions within and outside institutional facilities. I would ask you to speak to them about effective treatments, accountability for standards of care & results, converse about more community resources and support systems, and speak about the lack of community based care and housing for these patients virtually locked within a poorly constructed revolving door modality and system.
It’s now time to review all aspects of DSHS services from top to bottom, and to begin thinking outside the traditional institutional boxes for effective solutions that quite possibly could provide more, better, and higher quality care with less expenditure.
I would like thank you for your time and attention regarding these matters,
Lindsay’s friend and advocate