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Welcome to our Autistic Spectrum Disorder services - we've made some changes 

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.

Meet Rachel Smyth - Registered nurse and Winslow manager

The breadth and expertise of our team mean that we are able to adapt and tailor our care to the specific needs of every person with ASD and complex mental health needs in our service.  As part of our special ASD Spotlight, this week we chatted to Rachel Smyth, Registered Nurse and Manager of Winslow a residential service with nursing.

“I love caring for others. I have always worked in Health and Social Care since leaving school. Never worked in any other area. I did my nursing and qualified 11 years ago. I think it is just supporting individuals to have the best quality of life and now being a manager of this service I can embed that into Winslow’s approach and make sure that happens. If I can get better outcomes for service users then that makes my day.”

Winslow is a community service developed in line with the national strategy to deliver care closer to home. As part of their approach Rachel and her team support service users to engage with the local community:

“We do everything we can to ensure that people feel included in the local community and their society. Service users are closer to their home area and their families. Families are very much engaged in the care of their loved ones at Winslow.”

To find out more about Winslow and how Rachel and her team build strong therapeutic relationships read her full interview and watch her video.

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.

How do we support people with ASD and complex mental health needs? Watch our team videos below:

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.