Comments on Recent Experiences at Riverview (2007)

David Proffitt, Superintendent
Riverview Psychiatric Center

Dear Mr. Proffitt:

I am the parent of a young woman, Elizabeth, who was admitted to Riverview in February and was discharged earlier today. During her stay, she was a patient on the Lower Kennebec unit.

May I first say that I met many people in the course of Elizabeth's treatment whose care and treatment of her were extraordinarily kind and compassionate. Paul, the RN on Lower Kennebec, and Sue, the Milieu Leader, were both there during her admission and were incredibly supportive, empathetic, and offered me a reassurance that my daughter would be well cared for. This first impression was borne out throughout her stay. My most sincere gratitude to Paul and Sue for their kindness and the professionalism and compassion that truly set a high bar for a
standard of care for others to emulate.

Heidi, the Peer Support person, was also very helpful and supportive of Elizabeth. During the admission process and during and after the treatment team meeting, she was wonderful. She took the extra time to help Liz try out the recreation area in the Treatment Mall when Liz needed extra supports, and was a personal support when Liz needed to discuss her feelings. Liz felt it was often easier to talk to Heidi since she "had been there" than to staff, who may not be able to identify as closely with her feelings.

Dr. Filene was highly responsive and his professionalism and integrity are apparent. As a parent I appreciate his support and compassion for my daughter and for our family structure. He took the time to talk with Liz and with the people who know her well and who have treated her for a long time. He asked clarifying questions that indicated he had reviewed her records thoroughly and was seeking to ensure that her course of care was consistent with what has worked for her in the past. Liz felt comfortable with him. I am very pleased that he took the time to speak with me on a number of occasions, during what I know is a busy and probably fairly hectic daily routine.

Your security staff is amazing. I have been repeatedly impressed by their kindness, compassion, and the respect and courtesy that they have extended to me, and to other visitors and patients I have seen coming and going within the facility. This has been true during the day, evenings, and over the weekends, from admission until discharge.

I filed a grievance last week following a treatment team meeting at which neither of my daughter's primary care providers (therapist/case manager and psychiatrist) were present; Paul and Heidi were available. While I expressed specific concerns about that meeting and about one specific treatment issue, I did not want to leave the impression that all I saw was that negative experience. I hope that it was merely an anomaly in what was otherwise an atmosphere of integrity and commitment to care.

I thank you and your staff for doing what I know is a difficult job under challenging circumstances, with a budget that continually shrinks in the face of increased demand for quality, service, and accountability. If you could please pass along my gratitude to your staff, and in particular Paul, Sue, Heidi and Dr. Filene, along with your security force, I would be most appreciative. Thank you.

Very truly yours,