Rating and reviewing psychiatric hospitals helps patients keep them accountable.
When I arrived at my first psychiatric ward, at George Washington University, I was crying. Instead of helping me to alleviate stress, the hospital gave me sedative pills to make me quiet. I took the pills, terrified of being seen as noncompliant — I had read so many stories about people’s experiences. These places almost always view us as noncompliant if we want alternatives to the treatment plan.
A more recent psych ward stay, at Georgetown Hospital, felt safer; Georgetown staff actually seemed to care, did their jobs to try and make me feel less distressed, and listened to me when I rejected the idea of adding an extra medication. And the medication they gave me finally felt like it was working. When I talked about the difference in treatment quality with my friend Sara Luterman, an autistic advocate and editor of NOS Magazine, their response got me thinking. They said, “There needs to be a Yelp for psych wards.”
It occurred to me that there was not anything quite like a Yelp for psych wards — no system with patient-based ratings gathered in one place. While reviews of psychiatric units of hospitals do exist on Yelp, they are inconsistent and scattered; there was no single review site, created with the explicit purpose of creating change and emboldening psych ward patients, and certainly no such site run by a former patient herself. After I left the hospital, I made a review blog dedicated to just psych wards. I readied Psych Ward Reviews at the end of June by creating submission guidelines, and for transparency, an about page, before opening for submissions on July 2.
As of November 17, 2016, Psych Ward Reviews covers 88 hospitals and 82 cities, for a total of 102 reviews. Reviews have come from the United States, Canada, Finland, Australia, and Hong Kong. People can filter through categories that includes the type of program, cities, metropolitan areas, states and provinces, and countries. They can also find specific hospital tags via…