Right now, 14-year-old Rose Grady no longer recognises her family.
In the depths of lockdown, the teenager suffered a severe mental breakdown, leaving her facing episodes of psychosis, hallucinations and unable to even feed or clean herself.
For the last three months, Rose has been in the children’s ward of Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow – where her condition has sadly only deteriorated, HertsLive reported.
Every day, all day, Rose has at least five staff watching her, with three for security so she can’t injure herself or someone else.
When her mother, Susie Grady, goes into the room to see her, Rose panics as she has no recollection of her family.
“She is very depressed,” Susie said.
“She doesn’t want to be here. She doesn’t think there’s any point. She feels like she’s trapped, locked in a room.
“She has no socialisation with other children, and she doesn’t see her friends. She doesn’t speak to her friends. She doesn’t speak to her family.”
Susie believes that if Rose stays in that same room in the hospital, she will never get better. Instead, Susie believes her daughter should be in a psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU), intended for children and adolescents.
So far, however, she says there are none available through the NHS, meaning it could cost more than £1,000 a day in a private hospital.
Before the pandemic, Rose had been a happy teenager with a close group of friends.
She regularly swam for her local swimming club, played the piano and was predicted top grades in school.
But when lockdown hit, everything came to a crashing halt.
“I think it was very difficult for teenagers to understand why they couldn’t see their friends or why they couldn’t do anything that a normal teenager does,” Susie explained.
“They were just spending way too much time in their rooms and not really doing anything particularly healthy.”
During lockdown, the family faced heart-breaking news as Susie’s mother was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease and her father fell ill with cancer.
Then the local area was placed in Tier 4 before Christmas, meaning they couldn’t celebrate as they had hoped, and a beloved pet died which tipped her over the edge.
It was around Christmas that Rose began to eat less and restrict her food intake. Her mum added her daughter became depressed and withdrawn.
“She didn’t want to leave her bedroom,” Susie added. “She was just quite unhappy really. She wasn’t thinking anything good about her life.
“School was shut again, so there was just a lot of time in our bedroom doing online learning. I think actually that was quite detrimental.”
“They wanted to do more tests on her because she’s always presented as quite a complex case,” Susie explained. “She’s not one thing or another.
Devastatingly, Susie said Rose “took matters into her own hands” and decided “she wasn’t going to continue living”.
Her parents rushed her to A&E and was admitted into hospital that evening, on the night of April 30, where she has stayed ever since.
Rose is now back to a normal weight after being fed every day through tubes since she was admitted, but her mental health has deteriorated. She is now regularly dealing with psychosis and hallucinations.
Susie said: “They can’t get on top of it at Harlow hospital because it’s a general children’s ward. It’s not an intensive care unit for what Rose needs.
“It’s impossible really. She’s just in the wrong building.”
Susie is at the hospital every day, waiting in the corridor in case anything happens, making phone calls to try to get Rose help and staying up to date with the doctors.
“I just sit in the corridor like a vigil,” Susie said.
“I talk to the doctors, and then I go home and recharge for another day. It’s very monotonous but very stressful.”
She added: “Some of the things they have to do to Rose every day are quite high risk. She has feeding tubes they put in every day and at any point that could go wrong and I could get a call saying you need to be here in half an hour.”
Susie has also had to give up her work as a physiotherapist for Ramsay healthcare and as a self-employed equine physiotherapist, while her husband Pete is prioritising looking after their other daughter, who is 10.
“It’s split the family in two,” Susie said.
“My other daughter really doesn’t understand why she can’t see her sister and is asking when her sister is going to come home. These are questions I can’t answer at the moment.”
Rose could need a PICU bed for six months to a year. If she was in a private psychiatric hospital for 12 months, it could cost the family around £350,000.
But that specialist care could make an incredible difference to Rose’s care. She would have a daily review with a psychiatrist who would prescribe medication to settle her and stop these extreme hallucinations.
She would also be in an environment where she is safe and she wouldn’t have to be restrained as she is now.
“She would be freer to walk around,” Susie said. “She’d be able to do what she likes.
“They would obviously restrain her if needed to feed her, but she would have more freedom and they’d be able to review the drugs more regularly.”
Susie added: “You can’t talk to her. She really needs talking therapies to begin, but they can’t do that at the moment because she’s so agitated and distressed so we’re still not at that point where anyone can speak to her.
“This has got a lot worse. When she was admitted, I brought her from school. She knew who her family were. She knew who I was.
“If you saw or spoke to her, you’d think there was nothing wrong at all.
“But now she’s in a whole different state. She’s very distressed. She desperately needs one of those intensive care beds.”
Rose has no recollection of her family at all at the moment. If Susie goes into the room to see her, Rose becomes panicked.
“If she becomes distressed they hold her on the bed until the distress passes,” Susie said.
“They hold her legs and arms. It’s a bit like a storm. Once the storm passes, they can let her go and she’s calm. But when the storm comes, they have no control over it at all.”
These episodes happen about once every hour at the moment. The consultants at the wards work on a rota basis, and some of them who were there when Rose was admitted are only seeing her again now.
“They can’t believe how bad she’s got,” Susie said. “They said she’s unrecognisable from when she was admitted.”
Sharon McNally, the director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals at the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Our teams are working around the clock to give Rose and her family the care and support they need.
“We are working hard with Rose’s family to find a suitable alternative solution for Rose’s care.”
From her own research, Susie believes that there are no more than 90 to 100 PICU beds in the country.
more here Credit Essex Live