Ruby Ward, C&I’s 11-bedded Women’s Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) has celebrated two years of providing emergency mental health care for women from C&I, BEH and sometimes even as far as Devon and Norfolk.
Staff and service users celebrated the anniversary with cake and music and had the chance to reflect on key achievements over the past two years.
Dr Neil Sarkar, Consultant Psychiatrist, who has been working on Ruby Ward since day one, said: “We’re very proud of the care we provide our service users and to have reached the two year milestone.”
Getting our service users better in a shorter amount of time
The unit sees female patients at their most unwell with very complex needs and figures show how hard the team works to lower the length of stay for these patients and to get them better within a shorter amount of time. Ruby Ward often cares for women who are unable to be treated on the acute wards.
Dr Sarkar said: “On average we are able to get our service users better in two weeks for them to then receive care on an acute mental health ward or in the community. This Women’s PICU average length of stay is 36 days. We’ve managed to achieve this despite being up against some very challenging circumstances, including converting Ruby Ward into a treatment ward to relieve bed occupancy pressure from other areas of the Trust.”
“We often receive lovely feedback via letters and calls from service users and their families and carers in regards to the care we provide. We have recently made a tree, where we have written our compliments on leaves so positive feedback is presented in a more visual way.”
A representative from Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group also dropped in to mark the celebrations and to commend the ward on all its achievements over the past year two years. They said: “What has really impressed me is the low average length of stay for service users on Ruby Ward. This has a fantastic impact on the lives of the women receiving care here.”
Welcoming new Ward Manager, Tendai Alice Mavedzenge
The Trust is delighted to have recently welcomed new Ward Manager, Tendai Alice Mavedzenge.
Tendai Alice, who has been in post for two months, said: “The team has worked so hard since I’ve been here including during the CQC inspection preparations and also when the unit converted into a treatment ward.
“Seeing our patients recover is the motivation for our staff to continue all the dedicated work they carry out. On a PICU, you meet women with the most complex mental health needs so you need to work well as a team to ensure patient safety.”
The team’s hard work was recently recognised at the annual C&I Star of the Year awards where they were the only ward shortlisted in the ‘Team of the Year’ category.
What’s next for the ward?
One area of work Ruby Ward is enhancing is around women’s sexual health.
A large proportion of service users on the ward have experienced trauma and are too unwell to leave the ward to attend sexual health clinics outside the C&I hospital site.
There are now plans for improving staff education and training in areas such as sexual health, contraception, testing for STIs. Visiting specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology will also attend Ruby Ward once or twice a month for sexual health contraception clinics as well as to support staff with sexual health training.
Ruby Ward has also pioneered work in the Trust which is hoped to inform national guidelines on safe use of certain medication. An example of this is Sodium valproate, which can be effective for this group of women.
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In an emergency
C&I has moved the service we normally offer in emergency departments to our 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service, at St Pancras Hospital. The service will see people in need of urgent care so that they do not have to go to a hospital emergency department unless they have an urgent medical need. Emergency departments are under unprecedented pressure due to COVID-19 – the illness caused by coronavirus. We are urging people in mental health crisis to telephone our 24/7 crisis line on 020 3317 6333 or contact their usual community mental health team. If service users attend the 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service in person we will see you but we urge you to contact the crisis line in advance for advice to ensure you are only leaving home when absolutely necessary.