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Willow House (Berkshire Adolescent Service)

About Willow House

Willow House is our 9-bed inpatient mental health unit for young people aged 12 to 18 years.

We provide intensive treatment at this facility for young people who are experiencing serious mental health difficulties (known as CAMHS Tier 4). The unit supports young people from across the Thames Valley and is part of the national CAMHS Tier 4 provision, so we sometimes look after young people from further afield.

Willow House is quite an old building and unfortunately the fabric and layout of the building are no longer suitable for us to deliver high quality inpatient care. New research and experience from other areas of the county has been showing that providing intensive support in a community setting, with the young person remaining at home with their family, would be more effective than having to admit them to an inpatient unit.  

We have agreed with NHS England that we will provide CAMHS Tier 4 service as an ‘out of hospital’ service that will ultimately ensure better care and outcomes for a greater number of our children and young people in Berkshire.

How our new service will be delivered

From the end of April, we will stop admitting young people as inpatients but will instead offer treatment through a day hospital and hospital at home service. This new service will still operate over 7 days per week, 365 days per year, however young people will remain at home with their families or carers and will either attend for day care, be provided with support at home or a combination of the two. 

The new service has been designed to also be able to treat young people who require this specialist level of care for an eating disorder, something that we are not currently able to offer at Willow House. We will be able to provide support for more young people that we currently can; up to 16 young people at any one time, compared to 9 currently. 

Continued support for all patients

For those small number of young people who still have a need for high-level inpatient care, there are several units across the Thames Valley region, who we work closely with and which can still provide this.

When a young person is admitted to the unit they'll be met by the nursing team, who will take them through the admission process, give information about the unit and what to expect, and answer any questions about their stay. A young person can be accompanied by their family or a carer who can also ask questions about the service and their stay. There will be some forms that the young person and their family or carer will need to fill in.

A member of staff will stay with the young person for at least a day after they arrive. This is so we can get to know them and support them during your first few days on the unit.

A Case Team will support them during their admission, and help them work towards being discharged from the unit. The team will include a nurse and your consultant psychiatrist and may include a family therapist and psychologist.

They will have regular meetings with their nurse and weekly meetings with their consultant. They may be referred for other work with our team such as psychology or art therapy if it is felt this is the right thing for them. We also run a programme of different psychological support groups.

If the care plan involves attending school, they will have classes from Monday to Friday in our classroom, which is in a building attached to the unit. Our teaching staff will liaise with the young person's school to make sure they can keep up their studies, and develop an educational support plan.

When the young person feels ready, we can arrange community work or work experience. We also have good links with the careers service and local colleges.

The young person will be given a copy of their care plan, and will be included in discussions about how they, their team and their family or carers can be supported towards their recovery.

Young people will be referred by their local CAMHS team. A member of the Willow House team will look at the referral and then make a decision about whether they can be admitted to the unit. If it is not felt that an admission is deemed appropriate at this time we will work with your referrer to consider alternative support.

The visiting times to Willow House are:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
6pm - 8pm 6pm - 8pm 6pm - 8pm 6pm - 8pm 6pm - 8pm 10am - 12pm 10am - 12pm
- - - - - 2pm - 8pm 2pm - 8pm

 

If it’s planned in advance, the patient will be able to spend time away from the unit with their family and friends. They will need to be back by 9pm as we work towards bedtime at 10.30pm. If they arrive back to the unit later than this they may be asked to return home until the next morning.

Feedback from the people who use our services is extremely important to us, as we use this information to improve what we do. There are a number of ways you can share your views on your experiences with us.

If you’re an inpatient using our facilities you can come to our Advocacy Group, which is held on the unit every two weeks. Feedback is anonymous, and will be shared with the team who can respond to any questions you have or issues you raise. If you’d prefer to do this one-to-one with a member of our team, we can arrange that.

When a patient is discharged from their inpatient stay they will be given a questionnaire to give us feedback on their experiences.

You can contact us if you have any questions about the new service, or would like to help us as we develop the new model

Email WillowHouseInformation@berkshire.nhs.uk