Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
We have gathered some of the most common questions from patients and answered them here. If you have a question that is not answered, please contact us through our Contact us page and we would be happy to assist.
Mental health FAQs
Your treatment consists of attending therapeutic groups, individual sessions with therapists and medication your psychiatrist prescribes. Group therapy is compulsory: we see it as an indication of your commitment to your recovery.
No, it does not. It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the rules of your medical aid scheme.
We encourage your family and friends to visit and support you. There are a few rules, though:
- Strictly adhere to visiting times.
- Only two visitors per patient at any time.
- Parcels and packages are permitted, but security and nursing personnel may search them at any time.
Meals are offered in a communal dining area. Visitors can buy items from the canteen. Please familiarise yourself with the meal times in your unit.
Yes. All medication (including non-prescription medication) must be declared on admission and handed to the nursing staff. It is important that your psychiatrist is fully aware of everything you are currently taking, as it may interact with your new prescribed medication. All medication is strictly administered according to your doctor’s prescription.
You need to be able to identify your prescribed medication, and we urge you not to take any medication if you are not certain it is the correct prescribed medication. Please talk to your doctor regarding the effects of the medication you are taking. You should arrange for your doctor to complete your chronic medication documentation prior to discharge.
All patients wear comfortable, casual clothing during the day – no pyjamas are permitted outside the bedroom. Male patients are to wear a shirt at all times and female patients are to ensure that their skirts, shirts and blouses are not revealing in nature.
You are allocated a bedroom on admission, and this may not be changed except at the discretion of the treating team. Patient dignity and privacy is respected, but bedrooms are accessible to staff at all times. For safety reasons, the cubicle doors must be open, except when you are dressing.
You are encouraged to socialise in the patient lounge in the evening. To ensure a healthy sleeping pattern, lights are switched off at 10.30pm. The ward doors will be locked at a pre-determined time to ensure your safety.
Please ensure that you are up and your bed is made by breakfast time. Keep your immediate space neat and tidy. It is your responsibility to request clean linen.
There are a number of recreational activities available for patients – please ask at the nurses’ station for details. We recommend that you use facility exercise equipment under a trained professional’s supervision. Any recreational activity that you participate in at the facility is at your own risk.
No. If your car is parked on the premises, you must hand the keys to the nursing team. The hospital and its management or staff do not accept responsibility for your vehicle while it is parked on the premises.
No. Cell phone use is restricted: you are required to hand in your cell phone for safekeeping. The ward telephone is for patient emergency use only and will be made available at the discretion of the nursing staff. The use of computer equipment, laptops and music systems is restricted.
The hospital can not be held responsible for the loss of any valuable or personal belongings.
No person may possess, distribute or display pornography during admission.
No alcohol or drugs are permitted on the premises. Searches of your belongings – and those of your visitors – may be conducted on admission and randomly at any time. Urine or blood testing may also be done at any time. Any refusal to comply with these activities will be viewed as a positive result for a banned substance and will lead to an automatic expulsion from the programme.
The mental health unit also reserves the right to press criminal charges should a patient or visitor be found to be in possession of an illegal substance. No “drug talk” on a social level is permitted.
No weapons of any kind are permitted on the mental health unit premises. This includes nail scissors, clippers and razors. These must be handed in to nursing staff when not in use.
For your safety, the facility reserves the right to search you and your belongings (in a dignified manner) at any time we deem necessary. These searches are conducted on admission, return from leave of absence, and whenever bags or parcels are brought in from visitors. If we find any banned items, they will be confiscated and your admission in the therapeutic programme reviewed.
A patient may be temporarily restrained or put in seclusion in order to protect people or property. This is done according to very strict guidelines.
While you are in hospital, you are not permitted to leave the premises without your psychiatrist’s permission. This applies during the week as well as on weekends. If you need to leave the unit for any reason, you can apply to your treating psychiatrist for permission.
As a voluntary patient in our mental health facility, you have the right to refuse treatment at any time. If you wish to leave the premises without permission, you must sign an indemnity form acknowledging that the unit and staff can not be held responsible for your safety during your absence.
Before leaving, you will require a clinical assessment. If the treating team does not believe that it is in your best interests to leave, you will have to sign a Refusal of Hospital Treatment (RHT) form, which may jeopardise any future admission opportunities. You will not be permitted to leave the unit if you are considered a risk to yourself or others.
All information contained in your patient file is confidential and may not be divulged to anyone beyond your treating team without your permission. If you or a family member have a question, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of your team. If you require copies of your medical information, please apply for this in writing to your psychiatrist or the nursing unit manager, as there are legal documentation requirements involved.
Certain confidential information is shared with members of the interdisciplinary team during your stay. You are expected to respect the confidentiality of other patients: the only exception is when a fellow patient expresses the need to harm themselves. This must be reported to the relevant nursing staff.
Please address any complaints, grievances or suggestions (positive or negative) with the treating team. Weekly climate meetings are held where patients can voice their concerns, compliments or suggestions.
You are also encouraged to use the comment cards available to raise any issues or to recognise any staff member who has impacted your stay. After your discharge, you will receive an email or SMS survey – we encourage you to complete this, as your feedback is important to us.
During your stay in this facility, you may not attempt any action that will result in harm to yourself or other patients.
Relationships between patients
No female patients are permitted in the male sleeping quarters and vice versa. There is no socialising in patients’ rooms. Friendships of a supportive nature are encouraged, but any relationship that is seen to go beyond this point and become intimate will result in the expulsion of the relevant parties from the programme. This also includes intimate relationships between patients of the same gender. No physical contact between patients (hugging or kissing) is permitted.
There are designated smoking areas on the grounds, which the nursing staff will point out during orientation. You may not sell or offer to sell tobacco on the hospital premises.
Damage to property
No one may intentionally or negligently destroy or damage the property of the mental health facility or of any other person. Any damages incurred as a result of behaviour of this nature will be for your account and you may be expelled from the programme. Eating is permitted in the dining halls and gardens, but not in the television rooms, therapy rooms, family rooms, bedrooms or reception areas. Please refrain from putting your feet on the furniture or couches.
All fellow patients, staff members and visitors to the unit will be treated with respect and dignity. Any behaviour that is abusive, disrespectful, discriminatory or violent in nature (either actual or implied) will not be tolerated. In addition, any intimidation of any other patient is an unacceptable infringement on their human rights. Any patient participating in this action will be expelled from the programme. Your medical aid will be informed of your expulsion.