Today we finished our Psychiatric posting, and this week we had our last posting at centre for mentally challenged children. The posting was really interesting but a bit boring in between since there was not much more to do than observe the children's behaviour and how they worked with them.
At the same time I felt so incredible sad the way they lived and how people were treating the children (yea, they call them children even if they are over their 30's).
There were times I felt so much pity that I would consider working there just to get the chance to try changing their work system and how they treat the children. There are about 35 children living at the institution divided by 3 people in each room. Most of them are diagnosed with mild to moderate mental retardation, Autism and Bipolar Affective Disorder. There are one or two care takers that provides all the basic, routine care such as cleaning, bathing, toileting, washing of clothes, feeding etc.
Two occupational therapists are there during the day time, as well as a nurse and a "head care taker". Some of the staff also live at the institution, so one can only imagine the feeling of spending 24/7 of your time at one place and what it might do to you. There are also a number of German people who comes every years as volunteer workers.
So yea, there are a good number of people working there. The problem at the institution is the limited number of resources available and the way they treat some of the children.
One child in particular is treated very, very bad. He balance is not that good, hence there's an increased risk of falling which has resulted in a number of scares and open wounds on his head. He has an increased saliva secretion, one see flies clustering around him, and one time I wondered if he even got a shower one day since he was wearing the same dirty clothes as yesterday. So I had to tell the staff itself to give him a shower. Thankfully two sweet Germans helped him with the shower.
I also observed the way they used to hit some children with a stick if they behaved mischievous or badly yelling and run after them.
The most incredible thins happened when, one day, the institution got a visit by a Monk from Mumbai, and suddenly, because of the visit, they ("nicely") arranged the children in the activity rooms and teaching rooms as a way to show how they were working with the children, teaching them to read, playing etc. And when he left they went back to their usual "chaos" - pure hypocrites...
And this institution is supposed to be a part of our, more than well-to-do, university.
The teachers are well aware of the situation. And I don't know if that is a comfort or of it makes it even more sad despite the fact that it's not an easy thing to learn old dogs to sit.
I started to wonder... If Manipal University, a wealthy, highly ranked and respected university is a part of running a centre like this, how's the situation in the rest of the country for children and adults with mental retardation and other psychiatric illnesses?!
I don't want to know...   
Bless you all my wonderful ward mates...:)

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