26 June 2012
Recognition for intensive care teams
Two Bristol psychiatric intensive care units have been rewarded
for their high standards with a national accreditation.
Elizabeth Casson House and Hazel Unit have both been recognised by
AIMS (Accreditation for Inpatient Mental Health Services), a
demanding review programme looking at areas including training, the
ward environment, facilities and provision of activities and
The award of accreditation by a group of mental health
professionals, service users and carers is an important sign of
recognition that the units provide a safe, high quality
service. Accreditation is not automatic and is only given
after detailed analysis of self assessment reports, service user
and carer questionnaires and an inspection.
Hazel is a 12-bed male unit at Callington Road Hospital and
Elizabeth Casson House is an eight-bed unit for women which moved
from Blackberry Hill to Callington Road last October. The two units
care for mental health service users in very acute phases of their
illnesses. Service users, normally aged 18 to 65, are referred from
AWP's intensive teams, adult acute inpatient units or from prison
teams and have been admitted under section under the Mental Health
At Elizabeth Casson House, AIMS inspectors noted a "very creative,
enthusiastic and cohesive team who use multiple approaches to
engaging with patients" and that "patients reported that staff are
available, knowledgeable and helpful." They found there was clear
evidence of policies being in place and noted the "bright and airy
Hazel was described as "a very bright, open unit with a relaxed
atmosphere" with "plentiful facilities on the unit and on site for
patients, including a gym and a kiln" and a "fantastic"
occupational therapy garden with a vegetable patch." It was noted
there was good management of patients' physical health, a good
staff appraisal procedure and good information displays for service
users and visitors.
The successful visits by AIMS inspectors follow a six month
process during which staff, service users and carers were asked to
comment upon all functions of the ward and the care provided.
Service Manager Calum Meiklejohn said, "We are delighted that
Elizabeth Casson House and Hazel have both achieved this
accreditation after a thorough assessment process that involved not
only staff but service users and carers too.
"However, being accredited is not the end of the story; we are
committing ourselves to an ongoing process that shows we are
dedicated to providing safe and supportive services now and in the
Arden Tomison, AWP's Executive Medical Director and Director of
Strategy, said, "Staff can be proud of their achievement in being
awarded this accreditation by their peers. It represents continuing
good work and is a sign that service users and carers can be
confident of the quality of services provided."
Staff were invited to give the inspectors their views on the
inspection process. The Hazel team said that the review
"highlighted to staff their value and made them appreciate the
facilities that are available even more." Elizabeth Casson House
staff were also pleased with the feedback and noted they are
"committed to making the unit the best experience possible for
Building works have just been completed at Ashdown in Salisbury,
AWP's third intensive care unit, so the AIMS process is now
underway there too. More information about AIMS, which is run by
the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Centre for Quality Improvement,
is available at www.rcpsych.ac.uk/aims.