Older Women's Mental Health - low secure

As part of our women’s mental health pathway, Fenwick is a specialist low secure, 10 bed service for the treatment and rehabilitation of older women with mental illness. 

The service specialises in working with individuals who have enduring mental health and physical problems along with behaviours that challenge and non-compliance with treatment or rehabilitation.

Fenwick is part of the RCPSYCH Quality Network for Forensic Mental Health Services (QNFMHS) and certified a RAID® Centre of Excellence recognising an environment of positive engagement.

Admissions criteria for women:

  • Aged 45 years and over
  • With severe and enduring mental illness
  • Who may have a mild learning disability as a secondary diagnosis
  • Who may be treatment resistive
  • Who may have alcohol and substance misuse
  • Who may have a forensic history
  • Who may have behaviours that challenge
  • Who may have physical health difficulties, including dysphasia
  • Who are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 amended 2007 or Criminal Procedure Act 1991.

Service outcomes

Key outcomes as part of this service for older women include:

  • Reduction of risk behaviours
  • Re-engaging individuals in treatment and rehabilitation
  • Improved self-management of mental health
  • Improved self-esteem, self-worth and self-compassion
  • Improved physical health and wellbeing.

Our care approach

Women receiving care at Fenwick present with complex psychopathology which commonly includes self-harm, self-neglect, suicidal behaviours and aggression towards others. Individuals frequently display initial non-compliance towards treatment or rehabilitation.

We work with each individual woman to help them understand their mental and physical health needs and empower them to lead their recovery.


Our treatment programme

Our treatment programmes aim to re-engage older women in treatment and rehabilitation so they can understand and then improve their mental health and wellbeing.

We provide a range of individual and group therapies including; index offence work, problematic alcohol and drug use, emotional coping strategies, and cognitive stimulation therapy.

Specialist input from physiotherapy and occupational therapy helps to maintain or improve functional independence. Interventions include daily living skills, education, arts and crafts, exercise and self-care groups.

Older women at Fenwick can also access Workbridge which offers vocational opportunities that help individuals to build daily skills and interests.



Fenwick provides a safe and homely environment for older women with complex needs on our main Northampton hospital site.

The wheel-chair accessible ward comprises 10 bedrooms each with en-suits; a lounge area, courtyard, therapy spaces and quiet areas. Women can access 120 acres of grounds, libraries, swimming pools, gyms and other vocational skills departments dependent on their leave and interests.

St Andrew’s is located in the centre of Northampton close to the main shopping centre and a range of community amenities. It is also ideally located over the road from Northampton NHS Foundation Trust Accident and Emergency department.


Multi-disciplinary team

Older women are supported by a multi-disciplinary team comprising expertise across female, older adult and neurodevelopmental disciplines.

The MDT consists of Registered Geriatric Nurses (RGNs) and Registered Mental Health Nurses (RMNs) who are trained to appropriately support the physical health needs of older adults, including those with dysphagia.

They work alongside our dedicated physical health team with access to a General Practitioner (GP), a consultant Geriatrician, a Practice Nurse, dental and podiatry services.


Community integration and discharge preparation

Fenwick forms part of a comprehensive pathway for women with complex mental
illness in Northampton. This pathway allows women to transition between medium secure, blended secure, low secure and specialist rehabilitation dependent on their changing needs.

Our qualified nursing and occupational therapy teams will work with an individual to understand their needs, interests and goals before co-producing personalised rehabilitation programmes designed to help that individual to move forward.

The service also benefits from the input of the East Midland’s Provider Collaborative (IMPACT) Assertive Transition Service to support a patient to transition to the community from secure services.