"Avalon Ward My Experience July/August 2016"

About: Springfield University Hospital (London)

Having spent 8 weeks on Avalon Ward I can give my review based on my recent experience. Firstly this ward saves and maintains lives that could be lost, that in itself is commendable. Yes many patients have been there a long time some even years but that is as a result of a lack of suitable alternative resources being available for those with an enduring Eating Disorder. Although this situation does limit available acute beds, this can be frustrating both to other patients and staff. This long term support keeps individuals safe. My first 3 weeks were very tough, adjusting to being totally controlled in every aspect of my daily life was at times unbearable. The staff do their very best to help and support, the ethos you have to have is to want to engage with the programme (some of it is optional) as far as improving your health both physically and mentally this is always at the forefront of treatment. Meals are measured and prescribed as if they are medicine and progress monitored and checked. Yes at times you will feel like you are being treated like a child but to be honest at the beginning when things are really bad you need control and decision making taken from you by a specialist team. You have your own room which you can make as comfortable as you choose, there is limited privacy but staff are respectful of your dignity and privacy where possible. You definitely get out of the treatment what you put in, and need to be prepared to have some really difficult challenging times, just stick with it and trust that the team know what they are doing and that it is with your best interests at the heart of any treatment. Yes there are agency staff and bank staff but there is always a core of qualified permanent staff who know the patients and their individual needs. I found the staff all but one or two to be caring,efficient and supportive, the staff take a lot of stick from some patients and I admire their tolerance and ability to move on from an episode. My stay was relatively short and on reflecting on this I am thankful, not because Avalon is hell but because I am aware of the life saving work they do on Avalon. Don't be afraid to promote recovery when this is actually happening for you, this I found lessens the sometimes apparent negativity I experienced on the ward from some patients. be your own person and work out quickly which other patients are on your wave length, I made some strong bonds with other patients, thier support an understanding contributed greatly to me recovery. So if you are being admitted to Avalon know that you will struggle especially at first but this gets better and easier. I will always have deep respect and gratitude to Avalon Ward for the treatment I had when I really needed it the most.

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Response from Claire Reid, Senior Patient Experience Co-Ordinator, Patient Experience Team, South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust

Dear Cinnamon Queen,

My name is Claire Reid and I am the Senior Patient Experience Co-ordinator for the Trust. I would like to thank you for posting such a positive post for Avalon Ward. It is really lovely for staff to receive such appreciative feedback for the hard work that is undertaken. It demonstrates a positive working alliance which is what we strive to do. We accept that it can be challenging for patients coming into the Ward, but always look to providing the best possible care with the resources we have.

I wish you well in your continued recovery journey

Many Thanks


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