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Willow House Tier 4 Alternative to Admission Service

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

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 Willow House 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 Willow House, 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 Willow House 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.

Referrals to Willow House 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.

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

If, in discussion with you and your community CAMHS team, the Willow House team feel 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.

We’ve updated our visitor guidelines to keep you, our patients and our staff safe. We appreciate that it’s a difficult time for everyone, but we kindly ask that you respect the guidelines that we’re putting in place, and our staff who are doing their best.

You must arrange any attendance at Willow House in advance. Please do not turn up without confirmation from the service first. Before any visits to Willow House, you will be asked some initial screening questions. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions, it is unlikely you will be able to attend at this time:

  • Do you or any member of your household/family have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID 19?
  • Are you or any member of your household/family waiting for a COVID 19 test result?
  • Have you travelled internationally in the last 14 days?
  • Have you had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID 19, or been in isolation with a suspected case in the last 14 days?
  • Do you have any of the following symptoms?
    o High temperature or fever
    o New, continuous cough
    o A loss or alteration to taste or smell

When you arrive at Willow House, please read the guidance posters in the reception and waiting room areas, and follow our guidance on face coverings (please bring your own) and social distancing. You can read this guidance here. We also expect all visitors to our facilities to have a Lateral Flow Test prior to their arrival. You can either get a test at a testing site or you can order tests yourself through the Government website.

Please be aware that we may have to change activities, including appointments, if we feel it is the right thing to do to keep everyone safe. Thank you for your understanding.

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.
  • If you’d prefer to feed back one-to-one with a member of our team, we can arrange that.
  • You can also ask for an individual meeting with an advocate or to meet with one of our CAMHS service user participation workers.
  • When a patient has completed their treatment in day care and steps back down to community CAMHS, they will be given a questionnaire to give us feed back on their experiences.

You can contact us if you have any questions about the service, or would like to help improve the services we provide at Willow House, you can contact us by emailing:

WillowHouseInformation@berkshire.nhs.uk