A Visit to the Oregon State Hospital, 1916

5 08 2012

This is an excerpt from the Oregon Teacher’s Monthly magazine published in May 1916 (volume 20, no. 9).  Oregon Teacher’s Monthly featured articles written by teachers, students and administrators related to general interest topics and had a news section with a county by county listings of school-related events.  We came across this issue in the holdings of the Oregon State Library.  This excerpt is chapter 10 in a series of articles written by Frank K. Welles, Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction, on state institutions.  The information he presents appears to have come from studying published reports of the hospital and a personal tour.

 OUR OREGON STATE INSTITUTIONS

The Oregon State Hospital

 Some of the school children who will read this article have never visited a hospital for the insane and will be interested to know what such an institution looks like, how the hundreds of patients are cared for, what they do and how they live.  The modern hospital for the insane is quite a different institution from what it used to be.  Now it is indeed a hospital for the treatment of persons with deranged minds, most of whom also have some physical ailment, rather than simply an asylum for the detention and safe-keeping of the insane.

Oregon has two hospitals for the insane.  One is situated just east of the city limits of Salem and the other is a short distance west of Pendleton in Umatilla county.  The Eastern Oregon State Hospital was built during 1911 and 1912 and is modern in every respect.  As soon as this institution was completed, 325 patients were transferred to it from the Salem hospital in order to relieve the over-crowded condition at the latter place.  As far as possible, the insane from Eastern Oregon are sent to Pendleton and those from Western Oregon to Salem. The number of insane is increasing so rapidly that the last legislature authorized the construction of a new $100,000 wing to the Pendleton hospital.  This has recently been completed.  There is also a fine farm in connection with that institution.  The last report of the superintendent shows that there are now about 379 insane persons at the Pendleton hospital. Read the rest of this entry »

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Watchman, 1908

4 07 2012

The following is the description of duties of the watchman and watchwomen employed by the Oregon State Hospital as spelled out in the Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Oregon State Insane Asylum, Revised April 15, 1908.

WATCHMAN

1. The duties of the watchman will commence at 8 o’clock P.M., at which time he will visit the office to receive instructions for the night.

2. He must, while on duty, be faithful and vigilant; visit every part of the male wards at least every hour during the night, making as little noise as possible, never conversing in a loud tone, and opening and shutting the doors as quietly as possible.

3.  He must be kind, gentle, and soothing in his manners to the patients, and use every means in his power to tranquilize those who are excited, and to allay the fears and apprehensions of the timid; he will pay particular attention to the sick, the suicidal, and those recently admitted; will see that the patients are properly supplied with water when it is asked for, and will attend to all other reasonable wants;  will notice any unusual noise in the patients’ rooms, endeavor to ascertain the cause, and, if necessary, report the same to the attendant.  He will notice anything unusual occurring during the night, and enter the same on a a slate or book provided for the purpose [see example of book here], and he shall report any irregularities, neglect of duty or violation of rules which may come under his notice.

4.  It will be the duty of the watchman to look after the heating apparatus during the night; he must be very watchful about fire, and, in case of its occurrence must immediately give general alarm;  he shall ring the bell at the hour for rising in the morning, and he shall perform such other duties as may be required of him.

WATCHWOMAN

1.  The watchwoman shall have charge of the interior of the female department during the night.  In the management of the patients, and in the discharge of other duties, she must be governed by the rules and regulations laid down for the government of the watchman.