Thane Mental Hospital to Allow Patients’ kin to Stay on Premises
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16 February 2011
By Nitin Yeshwantrao
In a move aimed at extending essential family support to mentally ill patients, the state–run Thane mental hospital is set to construct 20 residential wards on the premises to facilitate the stay of the patients’ family members and assist authorities in their speedy recovery.
The initiative, which has proved effective in the treatment of mentally–ill people admitted in places such as the Bangalore–based National Institute of Mental Health and Bureau Science (NIMHANS), will be adopted by the staterun Thane mental hospital, according to medical superintendent Dr S Kumavat.
The British–era hospital built on a sprawling 75–acre colony has a capacity to admit 1,300 male and female patients. The hospital staff ’s effort in the treatment is aided by the active support of volunteers from NGOs.
However, visits by family members are few and in some cases the patient is completely left at the mercy of the hospital authorities. "Ideally, the atmosphere at the mental hospital should be such that it helps in the speedy recovery of patients. Most of them suffer from withdrawal symptoms or depression. Given this scenario, if the family members stay with the patients, it would help in their speedy recovery," a healthcare activist told TOI.
Currently, more than 150 patients visit the OPD regularly, of which 100 are old patients while 30 new patients register every day. In 2007–08, the total number of patients handled at the OPD was 28,348; in the corresponding year, the number rose to 29,836, said Dr Kumavat, pointing to the stressful living conditions in cities.
"Family wards will help the relatives to see the progress of their patient. It will also ensure a familiar atmosphere for the patient. We have already completed the tender process for the construction of these wards and in another 18 months, the wards would be ready for occupation by the near and dear ones of patients," said Dr Kumavat.
He added that not more than two members of a family would be allowed to stay in the ward. "In some cases of depression, the patient does not need hospitalization, but at the same time it is difficult to control his emotions at home. The family ward will help to effectively deal with such cases as they can extend moral support and build his confidence level besides regular dosages of medication. The patient too is in a familiar setting and does not feel lonely," Dr Kumavat said. He added that the efforts will also sensitize family members to deal with patients.