Improving the patient experience of seclusion
Work is complete on the first phase of our redevelopment of safety suites for Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, utilising a standardised design approach which safeguards the dignity and wellbeing of service users who need to be cared for in seclusion.
The project provides a new standard of seclusion facility across six sites, which is suitable for various mental health services and adaptable to suit site specific requirements.
Improving the experience of seclusion
The design offers a robust intensive care environment which achieves the best possible outcomes for service users and staff, including safety, durability, and therapeutic value. A connection with outdoor space has been prioritised, through views and controlled access to safe gardens, providing a calming environment. Alongside this, environmental conditions are entirely adaptable to meet the needs of the service user, including lighting, temperature, and audio/visual control.
Several technologies and building innovations are incorporated as ‘firsts’ for a seclusion environment. These include an all-in-one control panel which makes observing and interacting with service users more straightforward, and an integral entertainment unit within the seclusion space, which enables service users to make calls with their family and support group.
We’ve found that there has been a significant improvement in service users’ experience and safety. The lighting, the television, the heating systems, have all meant that the environment is a much better place to be.
Adaptable standard for consistent quality
In developing the standardised design with the project team, the Trust was keen to address issue with the condition of existing seclusion facilities. These were of varying design quality and suffered frequent damage, often disrupting the provision of services and requiring service users to be relocated away from their family and support network. The new standard design creates a protective environment which safeguards dignity and wellbeing.
For each of the six sites, the standard design is adapted to the requirements of the existing facility in terms of programme, layout, building geometries and materials. This enables each safety suite, whether extension or refurbishment, to be shaped to reflect its specific clinical requirements and surrounding context, whilst ensuring the same high level of quality throughout.
Researched and tested through engagement
To inform the design, research was conducted into existing seclusion facilities with feedback collected from staff and service users. This identified a common issue: how the wall and floor finishes were consistently vulnerable to damage. A trowelled resin solution was developed that created a seamless and ‘unpickable’ finish. Emerging proposals were then evaluated in a series of stakeholder engagement workshops applying the new standard to site-specific applications. The result is an effective standardised design, suitable for use across a range of services, including low secure, medium secure, psychiatric intensive care, and learning disabilities.
The environment is much more robust. The walls, the doors, the windows, everything has remained intact even when subjected to some quite serious attempts to do damage to them.