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Phoenix Unit Tier 4 Alternative to Admission Service

Phoenix Unit is the base for the Berkshire CAMHS Tier 4 Alternative to Admission Service. Tier 4 services treat patients with more complex needs.

Take a look at our Managing Feelings pages for advice on helping a young person with their mental health.

This service provides Tier 4 level CAMHS care for up to 16 young people at a time, for children aged 12-18 in Berkshire. It is part of the Thames Valley CAMHS Tier 4 Provider Collaborative so at times may also provide care and treatment for young people from across the collaborative area.

We provide an alternative to inpatient admission. We deliver coordinated, intensive, complex, multi-modal interventions designed to facilitate the prevention, diagnosis, management, and evidence-based treatment of severe and enduring mental illness in young people whose needs can no longer be met by community CAMHS and crisis services. 

The Phoenix Unit multi-disciplinary team comprises consultant psychiatrists, therapists, administrators, and nursing, teaching and support staff.

We deliver care 7 days a week, 365 days a year through an extended day care programme which runs from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm weekends and Bank Holidays.

Young people will remain at home with their families overnight but are able to access telephone support if needed.  

Treatment includes programmes for young people who present with:

  • Early onset psychosis
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Chronic self-harm
  • Emotional regulation difficulties
  • Eating disorders

When a young person is accepted for day care at Phoenix Unit, they and their family will meet with the clinical team, who will take them through the admission process, give information about the service and what to expect, and answer any questions about the day care programme. There will be some forms that the young person and their family or carer will need to fill in.

They will have a clinical team to support them through the day care programme and help them work towards being able to step down to less intensive community care. The team will include a nurse, consultant psychiatrist and may include a family therapist, psychologist or other therapists including a dietitian or occupational therapist as needed.

They will have regular meetings with their nurse, weekly meetings with their consultant and both they and their parents/carers will attend regular therapy groups and individual therapy such as psychology or family therapy if it is felt this is the right thing for them.

School is an important part of the treatment programme and all young people attending day care will be expected to attend classes according to their individual needs. The Phoenix Unit school is open 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 current 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.

Watch our film below on what to expect at the Phoenix Unit.

The film below shows our staff members talking about how the Phoenix Unit is a great place to work:

The hospital education team support patients with their education, apprenticeship, or a return to employment by offering a wide range of learning opportunities.

A typical stay is 12 weeks and the patient will be dual registered with their home school while attending the hospital school. We feel strongly that our work in CAMHS Phoenix School is an integral part of each young person’s recovery.

Students are taught in the school building attached to the Phoenix unit, where we have two dedicated classrooms. The ‘outstanding’ (Ofsted 2017) education team comprises three core subject specialists and a teaching assistant, who have all received additional training in working with students with mental health needs.  

We provide a welcoming and positive learning environment and a broad curriculum that empowers the individual to rediscover the joy of learning. Students receive education tailored to their needs and abilities, working in partnership with their home school.

Find out more about the CAMHS Phoenix School here (opens in new window).

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:

  • We have a weekly meeting with young people attending the day care programme where we discuss any challenges or concerns. You or your family can give feedback through that meeting.
  • If you are attending the day care programme 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.
  • You can feed back one-to-one with a member of our team.
  • You can ask for an individual meeting with an advocate or meet with one of our CAMHS service user participation workers.
  • When you have completed your treatment in day care and step back down to community CAMHS, you will be given a questionnaire to give us feedback on your experiences.

Referrals to Phoenix Unit are made by Community CAMHS or the CAMHS crisis service. This will be done in collaboration with the young person, their family and any other people that are part of the young person’s care and support network.

Phoenix Unit staff, including a psychiatrist and nurse or therapist, will then arrange to meet with the young person, family and any other relevant people to make a shared decision about whether the day care programme would be beneficial.

If it is felt that you would benefit from a short inpatient admission, they will take responsibility for arranging that. Willow House and your community team will work with the inpatient service to support you during this admission to enable you to get back home and into the day care programme or community CAMHS as quickly as possible.

If it is not felt that the day care programme is deemed appropriate at this time we will work with your clinical team to consider alternative support.

Read more about our referrals process under the Child and Adolescent Mental Health section on our referrals page.

Phone: 0118 9046888

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