The kitchen brought back many happy memories, especially of the time when the unit had been a therapeutic community. Patients were expected to make their own meals, clean the unit, challenge each others’ excesses, and generally take collective responsibility for their own lives. In those days, ‘patient rights’ were even more important than bureaucratic controls, and the kitchen was always unlocked to allow patients free movement. But the principle had its drawbacks as demonstrated by one patient who would often refuse to leave the kitchen having once entered it, and another who would examine the contents of boiling pans with her bare hands. One man had a habit of evacuating small pieces of faeces with his fingers, and then entering the kitchen to stir the gravy without the aid of a spoon, while another was famous for urinating in the fish tank, and sometimes feeding the fish with sandwiches, tea bags, chips or (on his birthday) lager…..


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