"my grey visiting days at picu centre "

About: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Inpatient mental health care

(as a relative),

my son was sent to picu newsum centre. I feel that becklin wing didnt take time to properly diagnose him. they sent him to psychiatric intensive care unit at newsum centre which consisted of a bed, toliet, wash basin and grey walls. How can any body get better locked up like they're in a prison cell?

the first day i went to see him i cried buckets of tears. i couldnt believe a sick person could be locked up like that. it felt to me like he was locked up like an animal in a zoo.

in my opinion, the nurses and doctors treated him badly. my son went to picu with a nervous breakdown and within 3days they had given him so much drugs it seemed to me that he was struggling to string two words together. i found the staff nurses very rude.

my son suffered many injuries while he was in picu. i got the police involved. i think picu should be abolished and new staff and doctors appointed.

from an angry mother

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Response from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

My name is Janice Morris and I’m the Clinical Services Manager with overall responsibility for all adult inpatients within the Trust.

I’m really sorry to hear that your son has been so unwell, and I’m equally sorry that you’ve not been happy with his care on our Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) ward.

It sounds like there’s been a lot going on in a short space of time, and I appreciate that this has left you upset and angry. I’d like to take a bit of time in this reply to talk about the PICU ward in general, but obviously to maintain your son’s privacy and confidentiality I cannot speak about his individual care here.

I find the things you mention concerning and so I would implore you to get in touch with me through the PALS team so we can either speak over the phone or meet face to face. PALS can be contacted on 0800 0525 790, on email to pals@leedspft.nhs.uk or you can instruct the ward to pass your details to them. They will be more than happy to speak to you and to put you in touch with me directly.

I’m very concerned that you’ve not been happy with the attitude of the ward staff and I would like to hear more about this. Staff on PICU ward are extremely experienced in dealing with people who are acutely unwell and their families, and so I’m very sorry that you felt a member of staff was rude to you. If you can give me some specific details I will investigate your concerns formally with the staff concerned.

We know just how important family and friends can be during periods of ill-health and recovery, and we would always want to make sure they felt included in the care we provide as a Trust. Your visits will have been very important to your son and I am saddened that they were not reassuring to you.

Creating an environment of respect and dignity for everyone we encounter is at the core of our values, and we would always want to maintain a high standard of care for every patient and their carers.

I understand that you feel that your son wasn’t on the Becklin Centre ward for long enough for him to be fully treated. Obviously I can not comment on his individual case without his permission, but the decision to temporarily transfer service users to PICU is always done following a full multi-disciplinary review and would only be done to support their ongoing care and safety.

Unfortunately when some people are extremely unwell, they either need more intensive monitoring, or they can have impulses to harm or injure themselves or others. The PICU ward is better designed to deal with these types of situations than our general wards at the Becklin Centre. It is a locked ward and has been designed as a low stimulus environment; I do accept that this can make the ward seem less open and more sparse than our other wards.

The aim of PICU is to increase safety and reduce stimulation. High levels of stimulation can make people feel more unwell and thus be at greater risk or require more medication – this is something that we try to avoid. As with any intensive care ward, we want people to be there for as short a spell as possible before being transferred back to an open ward such as in the Becklin Centre, where they are often more comfortable when feeling better.

Very regrettably you say that your son sustained some injuries while he was on the ward. This is obviously a concern to me and I would like to know more so that I can thoroughly investigate it. Again, it would be helpful if you could contact PALS to help with this.

As a mother it must be very distressing to see your son so unwell and unable to communicate with you at such a time. From the information you give it is difficult to explain why this was the case. Both sedation and slurring of speech can be a temporary side effect of the medication used to treat such acute mental health problems and reduce distress.

It can be unpleasant both for service users and families but such medication is safe and is given by health professionals so that service users feel more comfortable and make a quicker recovery. I can assure you that such side effects are only temporary.

I can’t help but be worried about how upset this experience has made you, and so as well as talking to me about your concerns about your son’s care, I wonder if you would be open to getting some support from our Carers Team?

They can offer you information and support both while your son is in hospital, and once he’s discharged. They can be contacted on 0113 2954445, or if you speak to the PALS Team they can arrange for the Carers Team to give you a ring.

It’s not clear from your posting where your son is currently, but I’m really hoping that you’ve already seen some improvement in his condition since posting this. And even though you’ve raised concerns that I’d still like to learn more about, I do want to thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experiences here on Patient Opinion.

Kind regards,

Janice Morris

Clinical Services Manager

Adult Directorate