Our department diagnoses and treats primarily female patients with psychotic disorders with a chronic progression – schizophrenic episodes as well as severe affective disorders and severe anxiety and psychotic disorders related to dementia.
The department is based in a renovated historical hospital building dating from the early 20th century. There department’s capacity is 29 patients. The department is staffed by psychiatrists, psychologists, nursing and caregiver staff (2 attending nurses, occupational supervisor and a secretary.
Patients are admitted on an emergency basis as well as through polyclinic referrals of patients who require hospital care and diagnosis. Patients who are in a worse condition are placed in wards where the nursing and caregiver staff can constantly monitor their situation.
As their status improves, patients are transferred to other wards where they have more freedom of movement and access to fresh air. The wards have two and three rooms, and the observation ward has seven places. The first (ground) floor has private offices of the physicians, head nurse, secretary and psychologist, a large dining hall, occupational therapy room, cloakroom and patient shower room. The second floor has the wards, nurses‘ lounge and a procedure room with EKG machine, the residents’ area and patients’ leisure area with TVs.
The hospitalization period is an average of 20 days, but if necessary it may extend to 3 months or longer. Treatment is provided both on a voluntary and involuntary commitment basis.
As to pharmaceuticals, all of the typical and atypical psychopharmacons in use in Estonia are available, and pharmaceutical regimen is customized for each individual patient. Each patient undergoes physical examinations as well where necessary. The department works closely with all of the clinics in the North Estonia Medical Centre to ensure patients complete diagnostics and modern treatment. A doctor specializing in internal medicine regularly visits the department.
Teamwork is important
Our department operates on a teamwork principle. Every day, an attending nurse, attending physician and psychologist are there for each patient. As needed, individual and family therapy are offered where the patient’s family members can take part. Three times a week, group therapy takes place. Besides the psychologists, the group therapy is led by an attending nurse with the relevant training. The work takes place in Estonian and Russian and if necessary, in English as well.
To improve patient’s coping and mood, the department staffs an occupation therapist who offers manual and handicraft-related activities; and physical exercise sessions are held regularly with the patients. The department has an exercise machine for patient use.
After inpatient treatment ends, the patient can be referred to a rehabilitation programme near his or her home. In this regard, the department works closely together with the Tallinn Mental Health Centre and social welfare departments.
We have become a training area for medical students from the Tallinn and Tartu Health Care College and University of Tartu residents. The department staff have taken part in clinical trials, trained co-workers and taken part in many mental health projects.