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The Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) service team at St Andrew’s has been praised and officially recognised by the National Autism Society.

After a four-day assessment, the Autism Accreditation Committee has awarded the team with the prestigious Aspiring Award. 

This is the UK’s only autism specific quality-assurance programme of support and development for all those providing services to autistic people and is also internationally recognised.

Achieving accreditation proves that an organisation is committed to understanding autism and setting the standard for good practice.

The findings of the St Andrew’s assessment, issued by the Autism Accreditation Committee, said: “Throughout all observations, patients were treated with care and compassion. Staff were heard to give frequent positive feedback to boost confidence and self-esteem. They display patience and empathy in gently supporting patients to make small steps towards their recovery.”

The Committee also noted that the hospital’s referral process is “robust” and that care plans are “developed in collaboration with the patient and families where appropriate and tailored to meet the individual needs of the patient”.

Many changes have been made to the ASD services in the past year, including moving the entire team and all ASD medium and low secure patients to FitzRoy House.

The new ward environments have a smaller number of beds and some of the rooms have integrated adaptive lighting with further plans to roll this out across the rest of the hub. There are also a number of sensory areas and an onsite cafe for family and carer visits.

The Committee praised the new setting saying it was “calm and quiet”. It also observed that all wards offer a community area with access to “outdoor space, activity rooms, quiet room and individual bedrooms which were personalised by the patients”.

Patients also have plenty of access to activities such as gardening and swimming.

Jennifer Mytton, ASD-LD Specialist Nurse said: “We’re hugely proud of what we’ve achieved and we’re thrilled that the National Autism Society’s Accreditation team has recognised that we always seek to involve patients in every aspect of their care.

“Just because our patients have learning difficulties and mental health problems does not mean that they cannot be engaged in their treatment. We work very hard as a team to support and regulate our patients’ sensory experiences through the use of a number of different sensory support tools, ensuring they also regularly engage with activities and programmes with minimal discomfort.”

 “We’re proud of how far we’ve come and will continue to develop our care plans, treatment and support for all our ASD patients who also have complex mental health needs.”

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