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Characteristics of low secure units in an English region: audit of twenty mental health and learning disabilities units for patients with severe challenging behaviour

  • Dominic Beer (a1), Vicky Turk (a2), Phyl McGovern (a3), Shaun M Gravestock (a4), David Brooks (a5), Louisa Barnett (a6) and David Orr (a7)...

Abstract

Aim: To survey the twenty low secure mental health and learning disabilities units in the South Thames Region.

Method: Ward Managers were interviewed and data gathered on: (1) Buildings and security; (2) Beds; (3) Staffing; (4) Therapeutic activities; (5) Policies; (6) Issues of concern.

Results: Learning disabilities units tended to be smaller, older and not purpose built with more issues of security and observation. There was an under provision of Clinical Psychology, Occupational Therapy and Social Work staff.

Conclusion: Any issues of concern raised by staff tended to reflect any structural and staffing deficiencies.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: M. D. Beer, Consultant in Challenging Behaviour and Intensive Care Psychiatry, Oxleas NHS Trust, Bracton Centre, Bracton Lane, Dartford, Kent, DA2 7AF, U.K.

References

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Beer, M.D., Paton, C. and Pereira, S. (1997) Hot beds of general psychiatry: a national survey of psychiatric intensive care unit. Psychiatric Bulletin. 21: 142144.
Beer, M.D., Paton, C. and Pereira, S. (1999) Good practice issues in psychiatric intensive care units. Findings from a national survey. Psychiatric Bulletin. 23: 397400.
Beer, M.D., Pereira, S. and Paton, C. (2001) Psychiatric Intensive Care. Greenwich Medical Media, London.
Beer, M.D., Turk, V., Gravestock, S.M., McGovern, P., Brooks, D., Barnett, L. and Orr, D. (2005) Characteristics of patients exhibiting challenging behaviour in low secure mental health units and learning disabilities units. Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care. 1(1): 2935.
Brooke, D. (1998) Patients with learning disability at Kneesworth house hospital. Psychiatric Bulletin. 22: 2932.
Department of Health (2002) National Minimum Standards for General Adult Services in Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) and Low Secure Environments. Mental Health Policy Implementation Guide. Department of Health, London.

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