Technical View of Mental Health Care

The company I currently work for does a lot of work in surveying and installation of wireless computer networking equipment, with the healthcare industry being one of our most prolific sources of work in this field.

I am in the midst of carrying out a four-day survey at a new and yet to be completed mental health ward at a public hospital in Melbourne.

Whilst the work itself is largely straightforward for us, the unique requirements of a mental health facility opened my eyes quite a way as to just what has to be done to make such a facility safe for patients who are suffering from any kind of mental illness.

The biggest surprise – (it probably shouldn’t have been) – was the amount of fittings that are NOT allowed to be in patient rooms. There are very few items that can be in the room.

Anything that might be able to be ripped off a wall by a patient must go in the roof space – toilet cisterns, hot water systems, any electronic equipment (besides medical equipment), and just about anything else that might be in a normal hospital room.

I took these shots from the catwalk above a row of patient rooms, the front of which are located directly beneath the walkways themselves. You can see the hot water systems for each room installed in the gaps in the frame along the walkway.

Putting all this equipment – (including much of our wireless gear) – up in the roof allows this equipment to be serviced at a future date, without the need to interact with a patient who might be afraid of, or become violent towards strangers.

They will however still hear those strangers walking, talking, and clanging about with tools above their rooms!

Jokes aside, it was truly eye opening.