Arrow ImageAcute, PICU and Rapid Response

Posted on Aug 31 2021 by Fiona Bailey

Much work goes into improving the “communication, sensory and social needs” of patients with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and complex mental health issues at St Andrew’s.

Jennifer Mytton, ASD-LD Specialist Nurse, who is based at the Northampton charity said: “The patients we support have very different needs."

She has more than a decade of experience working in mental health as a nurse and also has a Masters in autism.

In the past year ASD medium and low secure environments at St Andrew’s have been moved into FitzRoy House, bringing all of the charity’s 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.

Jennifer said: “We adapt our environment on the wards as much as we possibly can. We are quieter throughout the building, we close our doors really quietly here because loud noises can trigger incidences for our patients because they become overwhelmed by the sensory feedback.”

The nurse who says being with the patients is the “highlight” works closely with the Sensory Integration Lead at St Andrew’s and together they holistically support patients with the assessment and formulation of their sensory needs.

Jennifer said: “As a nursing team, our main goal it to get people out of hospital. We want people to be with us for the least amount of time possible so we try to work closely with community teams and providers so that we can find the most appropriate placement for that person.

“That could be back home, it could be a communal living space with nursing support 24/7, it completely depends on the person.”

To watch Jennifer’s interview about the ASD services, click here.

To find out more about the Autistic Spectrum Disorder services at St Andrew’s, click here.