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Posted on Apr 29 2024 by Fiona Bailey

St Andrew’s Healthcare's neuropsychiatry service, which puts its patients at the centre of their care, has attracted the attention of Swiss experts due to the innovative approach it has adopted.

The mental health charity specialises in looking after people with brain injuries, complex dementia and Huntington’s disease and cares for almost 150 people in both inpatient environments and in community-supported transitional living.

Lowther – one of the buildings that is used for the service – revolves around a village theme to help those with dementia adapt to life and support living in hospital. The wards surround an outdoor courtyard which has a post office and launderette to give those staying there a feeling of familiarity.

Kemsley houses several wards which provide assessment, rehabilitation and recovery services for people with brain injury and Huntington’s disease, and Rose ward is located within one of the charity’s medium secure building’s William Wake House.

Church is a brand new ward which has opened in Malcolm Arnold House building. It has been developed to create an additional much needed step within St Andrew's male brain injury pathway.

Within the Neuropsychiatry sector, the service has gained an excellent reputation for the care and innovative approach it provides to patients, which is why experts from the Foundation Foyers Valais de Coeur in Switzerland asked if they could visit.

Dr Muthusamy Natarajan, Deputy Medical Director at St Andrew’s Healthcare, said: “We were thrilled to meet the team from the Foundation and very proud to show the breadth of knowledge and expertise we have within the service which helps and supports our patients, many of whom have very complex health conditions.

“The knowledge we have within the service, combined with our range of bespoke environments, means that we are able to meet the needs of patients that may present with a complex layering of neurocognitive, neurobehavioural and physical difficulties as a result of acquired or traumatic brain injury, dementia and Huntington’s disease.

“Kemsley, on our Northampton hospital site, was the UK’s first specialist neurobehavioural unit and continues to lead the way in the delivery of person-centred care for people with a range of complex cognitive, physical and psychological needs following a brain injury. Here at St Andrew’s, we help people to live well following a brain injury or a complex health diagnosis, and equip them with the tools and ability to face the challenges they may encounter during their recovery.”

The team from the Foundation Foyers Valais de Coeur - Victorine Zermatten, Mathieu Troillet, and Director Christian Moulin - spent the day at the Northampton mental health charity meeting staff and patients and being shown the buildings and grounds.

Mr Moulin said: “We heard a lot of great things during our visit at St Andrew’s Healthcare and were very impressed at the high quality of care and tailored approaches that all the staff within the service are providing to their patients with complex needs.

 “It was a great day, with lots to reflect on and think about for future developments back in Switzerland. We definitely learnt a lot and will be rolling out some of the measures we saw being used at St Andrew’s.

“We would like to take the time to thank Lead Occupational Therapist Sarah Hayes and Kevin Beckles, Clinical Psychologist, who took the time to share their insight into clinical practices, including environment considerations, risk assessment and RAID principles applied at St Andrew’s when working safely with people with complex mental health needs.”