A national survey of psychiatric intensive care, low secure and locked rehabilitation units
evidence and practice    

A national survey of psychiatric intensive care, low secure and locked rehabilitation units

Stephen Maxim Pereira Consultant Psychiatrist, The Althea Practice, London, England
Lucy Walker Research Fellow, National Association of Psychiatric Intensive Care and Low Secure Units Administration Office, Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, East Kilbride, Scotland
Stephen Dye Consultant Psychiatrist, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Ipswich, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To learn about the differences between psychiatric intensive care, low secure and locked rehabilitation units

  • To understand how service provision in psychiatric intensive care, low secure and locked rehabilitation units has changed since 2006

  • To gather information on the types of interventions offered by the different psychiatric intensive care facilities

Psychiatric intensive care can take place in a variety of settings, including psychiatric intensive care units (PICUs), low secure units (LSUs) and locked rehabilitation units (LRUs). These units have a range of referral, admission and discharge care pathways, staffing profiles and core interventions.

The aim of this service evaluation was to compare present provision in PICUs and LSUs with results from the first national survey of PICUs and LSUs in 2006. The service evaluation also aimed to define the role of LRUs. The authors used a cross-sectional, ‘census day’ questionnaire with six-month follow-up design. Overall, 111 NHS units participated in the evaluation. Results included that PICUs were smaller and usually had a mixed-sex distribution of service users; LSUs mostly comprised single-sex facilities; and LRUs mostly comprised single-sex units with a significantly longer mean length of stay than the other types of unit. PICUs primarily cared for service users exhibiting acute behavioural disturbance, first-episode psychosis or psychotic crisis and, compared with the other types of unit, more often used high-dose medication and electroconvulsive therapy.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2021.e1467

Peer review

Peer review This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

@napicu

Correspondence

nationalsurvey@napicu.org.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Pereira SM, Walker L, Dye S (2021) A national survey of psychiatric intensive care, low secure and locked rehabilitation units. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2021.e1467

Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the NHS trusts involved, the Bernard Lewis Family Charitable Trust, Department of Health and Social Care, National Association of Psychiatric Intensive Care and Low Secure Units (NAPICU) and Paul White, University of the West of England, Bristol, England

Published online: 12 January 2021

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