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"It's the best place I've ever lived. Do you know why? because of the team here. I've had no blips since I've been here and they've helped me with my laundry, cooking and going out" Richard, Service User

Our ASD services are all designed to help people with complex mental health needs to live in the community. From the moment a person with ASD is admitted to St Andrew’s our clinical teams work with the individual to deliver care treatment plans which move a patient forward in their recovery and help them to discharge from hospital and in to an appropriate community placement as soon as possible.

This requires a comprehensive multi-disciplinary team and a holistic care perspective. Our care teams help a person with ASD to understand and manage their ASD as they develop the skills necessary to enable them to live independently in a community setting.

In our latest interview as part of our Service Spotlight campaign we met Richard, who is a service user at Winslow. He spoke to us about the support he has received and how living at Winslow has helped him to prepare for his next step in the community.

 

Supporting people with ASD into the community

"I think Winslow is different and unique because we look after very complex individuals in the community but we manage to keep them safe and support their risk in a community setting".

Earlier in our Service Spotlight campaign we met Rachel Smyth, Manager and Registered Nurse at Winslow. Rachel has worked for St Andrew's as part of the ASD division for two and a half years and applied for the role at Winslow because of it's unique setting and approach. Talking about how she and her team support people with ASD (and LD) and complex mental health needs in the community Rachel said:

"All of our service users have their own front door to a self-contained apartment so the care we need to deliver is very individualised and needs to support people's needs that will often change on a daily basis, so adaptability in our approach is key. My team and our service users are one community and we build strong therapeutic relationships and use positive behavioural support to de-escalate risky situations"

Winslow supports people with a range of needs and all current service users have formerly spent time in hospital detained under the mental health act, moving to Winslow with a view to them returning to their communities and integrating back into a less restrictive environment.

 

We've made some changes to our Autistic Spectrum Disorder services 

Recognising and treating the layered complexity of people's needs who have ASD and complex mental illness is key to St Andrew's approach within our specialist ASD service 

Over the past year our ASD medium and low secure environments have moved into FitzRoy House, bringing all of our ASD clinical expertise into one hub.  These new ward environments have a smaller number of beds, some of the rooms have integrated adaptive lighting with plans to roll this out across the hub and there are a number of sensory areas. An onsite café offers a welcoming space for family and carer visits and there are extensive opportunities for sport, exercise and outdoor activities.

We also have specialist transitional living services on our Northampton hospital site and in the community in Nottinghamshire.

Within our service we’re open to be being reviewed by our external peers and are currently in the process of working with the National Autistic Society (NAS) to gain accreditation for our wards. Initial feedback has been very positive, scroll down the page to see what NAS said.

Early feedback from the National Autistic Society about our service

The provision has a strong staff team who work well together and are understanding and caring of their patients.

The service seeks to involve patients in every aspect of their care from the first moment they are admitted through to their transition on from the service.

Patients have access to a wide range of meaningful activities which they find fun or interesting and are encouraged to try new challenges. This results in patients participating in meaningful work placements and developing new skills.

Fitzroy House provides a low arousal environment which supports patients to manage and regulate their sensory differences and provides a calm and quiet environment. All wards offer a community area with access to an outdoor space, activity rooms, quiet room and individual bedrooms which were personalised by the patients.

Treatment plans

Our ASD services provide evidence based, highly personalised, holistic assessment and treatment plans that NICE guidelines. Working with people we use:

  • the latest ASD specific tools and techniques for people with forensic and non-forensic needs, including those which are offence-specific, such as cybercrime and internet related offending
  • a care approach underpinned by the SPELL (Structure, Positive, Empathy, Low Arousal, Links) framework
  • vocational opportunities provided by our EVOLVE programme
  • access to adult education environments and facilities 
  • health and well being programmes
  • seamless 'step down' and 'step up' support between multi-disciplinary teams
  • unique vocational working opportunities at our public facing café, garden centre and ceramics
    shop (Workbridge, Northampton)
  • carefully planned transitions to facilitate moving on from inpatient settings.

Support from a full-time MDT

Our multi-disciplinary team have extensive knowledge, skills and experience of working with people with ASD, and including patients in planning their care is integral to their approach. The team's ethos is based on valuing and embracing each and every individual’s unique qualities. Our MDTs comprise:

  • psychiatric and psychological expertise in neuropsychological, forensic and progressive conditions, adapting therapies for people with ASD
  • qualified Speech and Language Therapy teams delivering dysphagia, hearing and communications assessments and interventions
  • specialist ALD Nurses
  • ward based Occupational Therapists and a Psychological Therapist and Sensory Lead
  • dedicated EVOLVE practitioners supporting people to return to vocational work in the community
  • specialist Social Workers facilitating community transition and support for family and carers
  • 24/7 access to resident doctors and nurses to support medical needs.