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IMHA Case Studies

Read these case studies to learn about how our IMHA’s help

Medication Management

Jason was admitted to hospital and sectioned under the Mental Health Act for assessment and treatment. Part of his treatment was to take Quitiapine a drug that can have a strong sedative effect for the first few weeks it is taken. Jason was finding the drug’s sedative effect unmanageable. He was unable to get up in the mornings and was missing breakfast and often lunch. He had begun to reduce the dose himself by splitting the tablet in order to reduce the sedation. Jason asked his advocate (IMHA) for help to bring this issue to the attention of the staff and for help in accessing the meals he was missing.

case studies, IMHA, medication, sectioning, mental health act

Credit: Ryan Moomey via Flickr (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Jason’s advocate (IMHA) helped him meet with the pharmacist on the ward. At the meeting his advocate supported him to be open about how the medication was affecting him and how he was attempting to manage its side effects by splitting the tablets. The pharmacist was able to provide Jason with more information and advice about Quitiapine. After hearing this Jason made an informed decision not to split his tablets any more. However he also asked his advocate to raise his concerns about the side effects with the ward’s consultant as he didn’t want to feel that he was managing the side effects on his own.

Jason’s advocate helped him to explain that he had missed out on meals due to the Quitiapine’s sedative effect. The consultant agreed to alter his medication timetable so that he avoided the sedative affects in the morning. His advocate also agreed to speak to Jason’s ward manager to ensure that they understood the difficulties he was experiencing and so that if he missed any more meals food could be put aside for him.

Jason felt like his views were listened to and respected. The consultant agreed to alter Jason’s dosage so he could manage its side effects better. Jason is now awake for breakfast and lunch. He no longer feels he needs to manage the side effects by himself or in secret and feels more confident about talking to ward staff.

Changing Lives

A woman who was an inpatient at a mental health hospital in London was very distressed after being told she could not close the door to her room because she was under 24 hour observation. She felt this was an invasion of her privacy.

Her advocate explained that her privacy had been restricted because of her history of self-harm, which included attempted suicide, and that this was because the hospital had a positive obligation to protect her right to life. Her advocate also explained that any interference with her privacy needed to be proportionate to the risk of her harming herself. Armed with this information and supported by her advocate, the woman arranged a meeting to discuss these issues with her treatment team.

During the meeting, the woman told the treatment team that being under 24 hour observation caused her great anguish. She asked the treatment team to explain why she was under observation, and how long it might be expected to endure, which they did. An agreement was also reached that from then on the woman would be able to close the door when using the bathroom, provided she was searched first, the door was unlocked, and the nurse remained outside.

Being given the chance to express her feelings and to discuss and then agree modifications to her treatment gave the woman much needed comfort. Afterwards she told her advocate that she could now see that the observation process was not a form of punishment, as she’d thought, but was instead designed to protect her.

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