Service users from across north central London with long-term, severe mental health conditions are benefiting from a new, state-of-the-art rehabilitation ward at St Pancras Hospital.
The 14-bed ward is for young men who have been diagnosed with illnesses such as schizophrenia and may also have challenging behaviours; many have previously been treated on acute wards for short spells but been repeatedly re-admitted after becoming unwell again.
Half the beds will be for service users from Barnet Enfield and Haringey NHS Trust, with the remainder allocated to patients from C&I.
Sutherland Ward is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of medical and other experts, and benefits from the latest occupational therapy facilities, including a sensory room.
C&I Consultant Rehabilitation Psychiatrist, Dr Matthew Allin, said: “The new unit will allow us to share the expertise of teams from BEH and C&I for the benefit of patients across north central London.
“These new facilities are modern, warm and welcoming and they will allow us to treat patients close to where they live and avoid having to send them long distances from home to get the care they need.”
Typically, patients would spend between 12 to 18 months on the ward before being discharged, often into supported accommodation where they can live independently, having re-learnt skills such as personal care, shopping, cooking and budgeting.
The ward has a special sensory room where service users can go when they need to take time out and feel calmer. Occupational therapists help service users to devise a ‘recipe’ of what soothes them, for example a particular colour lighting or their preferred aromatherapy scent.
There are two comfortable lounges with televisions where service users can socialise, and every bedroom is bright and ensuite. Also on offer are daily occupational therapy sessions including art classes, and once a week, patients can visit the Arsenal Football Project at the Emirates Stadium where they can train and play five-a-side.
Dr Allin said: “We also work very closely with family and friends to help re-establish relationships again where these have broken down. One service user who had lost all contact with his family is now back in touch which is so vital for his continuing recovery. The new Sutherland Ward is about helping people with serious mental health illnesses to get back on their feet again and to live as independently as possible.
He added: “Being able to share the expertise of the BEH and C&I teams is fantastic and make this a really amazing resource for both Trusts’ patients.”
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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.