RÚV reports that there is strong evidence to support long-standing claims of widespread violence, drug coercion, and abuse that patients with developmental disabilities and mental health problems endure. This is RÚV’s report on inhumane treatment at Arnarholt long-term care facilities, and the safety of mental health advocacy group Geðhjálp and now Landspitali, according to a report compiled by a working group appointed by the Prime Minister two years ago. Former staff of the forensic mental health ward.
Employees of a safe and forensic mental health ward appeared in 2020
In November 2020, Arnarholt care facility staff submitted a detailed description of the inhumane treatment of patients at the facility, dating back to the 1970s. Following these reports, Geðhjálp, an organization advocating for people with mental health problems, has increased complaints about the services and facilities Landspitali provides in its safe and forensic mental health ward. Both are in the Kleppur psychiatry. hospital. Many of these complaints were made by current or former employees. (Safe wards aim to serve patients with serious mental health problems who require long-term care and are successful with other treatment resources. Forensic mental health wards are crime A specialized psychiatric ward aimed at rehabilitating patients with serious mental health problems who have committed illness, and help them reintegrate into society.)
Some complaints include patients being forced to take medications against their will, denied information about treatment, detained in bondage, or refused treatment options for several months at a time. There were reports of being locked up in a room for several days if they stayed in the ward or refused treatment options, breaking the rules of the ward. Forced injections are said to occur regularly in these wards and often cause injuries to both patients and staff in the process. Injuries were often not reported.
As a result of these complaints, Geðhjálp worked with at least eight former and current employees in these wards to produce reports on their condition and patient treatment. The report and staff testimony were then forwarded to the Department of Health, who stated that they had visited the site in response to the allegations. Landspitali said he interviewed many employees. However, when contacted by RÚV in May 2021, both agencies refused to comment further on the facility’s investigation and status.
Need more detailed investigation
A working group report submitted to Alþingi on Wednesday states that fast-forwarding to the present requires further investigation. Going forward, it suggests that there are two separate studies, one focused on 1970-2011 when patient treatment was transferred to the local government, and one from 2011 to the present.
The report states that the study focused on 1970-2011 should answer three main questions. First, what was the experience of an adult with developmental disabilities and mental health problems in a long-term care facility during a designated period? Second, what kind of abusive or unfavorable treatment did this group receive? And third, how did the responsible party handle the oversight and oversight of these facilities during the period of the problem? The questions in the second study, which focused on 2011-present, are about the same, focusing on systemic factors that increase the likelihood of adverse treatment and condition within the care facility.
The report also aimed to ensure better monitoring of patient care and ward status by transferring care for patients with severe mental health problems and adults with disabilities to local governments, He states that this was often not the case. We also pay particular attention to the fact that it is very difficult for working groups to obtain information from local governments and the answers they received were often inaccurate.
Almost half of the municipalities did not respond to requests for information
In fact, nearly half of Iceland’s municipalities, or 31 of 69, did not bother to respond to working group information requests, despite repeated reminders. Little information was available from Western Iceland. So Snæfellsbær, Grundarfjarðarbær, Helgafellssveit, Eyjaog Miklaholtshreppur, Stykkishólmsbær, Borgarbyggð, Hvalfjarðarsveit couldn’t all reply. Two municipalities in the Westfjords, Bolungarvíkurkaupstaður and Súðavíkurhreppur, did not respond. Nine municipalities in northeastern Iceland — Hörgársveit, Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur, Grýtubakkahreppur, Þingeyjarsveit, Skútustaðahreppur, Tjörneshreppur, Svalbarðshreppur, Langanesbyggð, Aykureyrarbær Did not answer. Reykjanesbær, Iceland’s fourth most populous municipality, is located in Southern Iceland.
Seltjarnarnesbær and Kjósahreppur did not respond, but all other municipalities in the metropolitan area did. All municipalities in East and South Iceland responded.
The Department of Health did not respond.
After receiving the report, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdottir said it was clear that there were serious and widespread problems with the system, but it was still impossible to elaborate on the findings of the report. .. She also expressed surprise at how difficult it is for working groups to gather information. Looking to the future, Mr. Katrin said the report would be reviewed and discussed by Congress, which would determine the best course of action.
I want society to learn from history
After the working group submitted a report to Alþingi, 61-year-old Ólafur Hafsteinn Einarsson told RÚV about his own experience in a long-term care facility. Olafur lives in a facility for people with mental and developmental disabilities throughout his life, and when he was a child he was beaten and verbally abused by Solheimal, he said. As an adult, from 1975 to 1990 he lived in several different facilities, such as Arnarholt and Bitra, which were actually women’s prisons, rather than suitable housing facilities. Bitola was the worst place he lived, he said. In 1990, Olavur moved to a group home in Kópavogur. There he lived for 22 years and then moved to his apartment in 2011 around the age of 50. This felt like his greatest personal victory, he said.
The results of the report weren’t quite surprising to Olavour, but overall, he said, “it was a little rougher than I expected.” He went on to say that he wanted to know why living in these facilities had to be so difficult for the inhabitants. He also said he was pleased that the investigation of the condition of these facilities could be traced back to 1970.
“So, the general public can see and hear it, and they can learn from these things.”
Patient must be seated at the table
The Working Group concludes the report with the belief that further investigations into ward conditions and patient care should include those who intend to benefit from these investigations. Therefore, they advocate making disability and mental health issues part of future investigations and providing the support these individuals need to present their cases and experiences to the Investigation Commission. I am.