Problems with Remuda Ranch Arizona

Since I wrote my first post on Remuda Ranch I feel it is necessary to follow-up with a second post.

After I wrote the first post I began getting daily hits on the post and have had various people contact me. I have had serious concerns that parents have shared with me about Remuda Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. What I am sharing is first hand knowledge from parents who have put their daughters in Remuda Ranch and unfortunately did not have a good experience.

file0001330703018Some of the things that parents are contacting me about is threats being made to the parents and to the patient. About a year ago a parent told me that her daughter was threatened about being placed in the state hospital if she wouldn’t eat. They told her that at the “State Hospital” they would force feed her through a tube and that it was a horrible thing. They told her that  she’d better start eating or that is where she would end up. Staff members and patients all began to terrify this young girl with all the horror stories that they had heard.

This is very troubling to me. These children have suffered so much pain and distress. Remuda Ranch should be a place of care, sensitivity and gentleness. Yet I continue to hear stories like these that would frighten anyone. Anorexia can never be treated through fear tactics. It only temporarily solves the problem. They may get a girl to eat because she is so scared she will end up in a worse institution – but it will never bring healing into this young persons life. I am very concerned that these type of scare tactics could damage a person for life.

Several parents have told me that their daughters kept wanting to run away because of the treatment they was receiving there. Two girls were able to get on horses and make it down the road until the facility was notified and the girls were taken back.

Medication was a big problem when my daughter was at Remuda. The nursing staff continually wanted to push the anti-depressants on the girls. I have been hearing from other parents that this is continuing today. One parent said she was repeatedly asked by the nursing staff to approve their increasing  the medication amounts. This parent felt intimidated by the staff to the point that she felt she had no choice but to acquiesce to their desires.

Are antidepressants necessary? Not always. I feel that it makes it easier on the staff – less drama for the nurses when the patients are drugged up. In extreme cases there may indeed be a need to use anti-depressants to quell depression and suicidal tendencies. Yet I have found that there are so many other natural ways to deal with these issues. Are they more time-consuming? Yes. Do they take more involvement? Yes. Yet that is why these girls are placed in the trusted care of professionals – to take the time and care to use the many healthy techniques to help these young people to overcome Anorexia. Popping a pill is easy. Using relaxation therapy, yoga, counseling, prayer and other means takes time  – perhaps more time than the staff at Remuda has.

18 months ago one parent contacted me who was very concerned about the treatment her daughter was receiving. She  and her husband mentioned to the staff that they were considering moving their daughter to another facility. They were then threatened. They were told that if they moved her they would contact Child Protective Services on them. They also said that if  they moved her their insurance wouldn’t cover the transfer.

This is nothing but coercion and lies.

A parent has full authority over their child. To be threatened that if they do something (that the staff doesn’t like) they are going to contact the authorities – is very wrong. This is not how you work with parents who are already under a tremendous amount of  duress.

I feel very concerned and disappointed about what I continue to hear about Remuda Ranch.  I hope that some people have had a positive experience. It is very disheartening. I’d love to hear from you if you have had any experience with Remuda Ranch in the last 3 years. I believe at one time it truly was a healing place – I am no longer sure.

One thought on “Problems with Remuda Ranch Arizona

  1. Hello! I had a horrible experience at Remuda Ranch in 2005 as a minor. Awful staff, horrible food (oxymoron huh?), etc. Most of the girls there didn’t really have an eating disorder (they maybe skipped a meal or two) but had severe psychological issues that continually disrupted the other girls. I saw more “self harm” than I ever want to see in my lifetime. My dietician (Ginger) told me I was overweight! At 5’5 and 125 pounds I clearly was not overweight I just wasn’t skeletal! They want you to continuously admit what a terrible person you were; i.e admit to your parents every sin you’ve ever committed in order to gain levels and more privileges. Again the food was nasty. Nothing fresh-all canned and packed with sodium and preservatives. There were hardly any activities and you barely saw your therapist. And YES they pushed the medication BIG TIME. EVERYONE no matter what was on Prozac. I left worse off than when I entered! I ended up going to their “Life” Program in 2007. I don’t have as many complaints but I will say the organization as a whole is VERY money-hungry. I told them I wanted to go directly to “Life” (as my issues were not severe) but they said I had to go to the ranch first. It was only after I said I’d be taking my money elsewhere that they let me go directly to “Life.” I hope things have changed now that Ward Keller went bankrupt and the organization was taken over by someone else. Ward Keller-God will not bless you when you run a horrible program!

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