Older Women's Mental Health - low secure

As part of our women’s mental health pathway, Elgar is a specialist low secure, 12 bed service for the rehabilitation of older women with mental illness.

A Quality Network for Forensic Mental Health Services (QNF MHS) accredited service and the first provider to be awarded RAID centre of excellence, Elgar has been designed specifically for older women with serious ongoing, complex mental illness, who are typically treatment resistant.

Problem behaviours are likely to include:

  • self-harm
  • self-neglect
  • fire setting
  • severe problems in interpersonal relations
  • suicidal behaviour
  • violence to others
  • substance abuse
  • non-compliance.

Tompkins patients and staff cafe

On site hairdressers

On site swimming pool

Admission criteria

  • Adult women over the age of 45 with enduring mental health problems and a high level of need.
  • Women who would be able to integrate into the service environment and service user population.
  • Women who meet criteria for detention under the Mental Health Act 1983 or Criminal Procedure (Insanity and Unfitness to Plead) Act 1991. 
  • Women with complex psychopathology, where problem behaviours are likely to include: self-harm, self-neglect, fire setting, severe problems in interpersonal relations, suicidal behaviour, violence towards others, substance abuse, non compliance with prescribed medication. 
  • Women who would be likely to benefit from admission to Elgar Unit and who can be safely managed in low secure environment.

Our care approach

Our focus for older women is to achieve active rehabilitation through targeted psychological therapies.

As part of this, we have developed a unique psychosocial manualised treatment programme which has been tailored to meet the specific needs of women through gender specific and gender sensitive adaptations.

Over 35 hours of tailored therapy per week are offered in addition to core psychological therapy such a dialectical behvaiour therapy (DBT), psychiatry, physiotherapy and education, interventions include:

  • Life skills: personal hygiene, laundry, budgeting skills, cooking and preparing meals.
  • Arts and crafts: needlework, interest groups, music, table games, beauty groups, horticulture
  • Exercise groups, library, hospital café, social groups and community visits
  • Body image therapy to help promote self-care and positive self-image
  • Workbridge, our onsite outreach vocational service offers activities which include woodwork, horticulture, catering, office skills, packaging and ceramics
  • Prescribed medication

Next steps

With the appropriate support patients would be expected to step down to Thornton, our locked rehab ward. Alternatively, where appropriate and subject to extensive risk assessment, an individualised leave programme is developed to support rehabilitation ahead of discharge.

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