Date published: 16 May 2023
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust has launched a ground breaking new Life Rooms service designed to help some of the most vulnerable members of society within its high secure mental health services.
The new service has been unveiled within Ashworth High Secure Hospital, one of only three high secure hospitals in the country. It will provide an extensive and enhanced range of social support, resources and educational sessions to patients requiring a high secure environment for the first time in history.
“We know The Life Rooms has already had a real impact and has been widely welcomed in our communities. Its services provide access to learning to support positive mental and physical health, practical one to one help with employment, training and debt management in a safe and welcoming environment,” said Tori Wolfendale, Operations Lead for Mersey Care’s Allied Health Professionals.
“Having these opportunities available within secure care will support the social factors that may impact our patients’ recovery and rehabilitation. It gives the highest quality NHS care to support enhanced recovery and build confidence through a range of courses like drama, music, gardening and the gym.
“Part of the success of this approach to prevention and recovery is where clinicians and therapists work with patients, supporting their needs directly. This has been the strongest thread in the creation of a Life Rooms in a high secure setting and will give patients even more support with their individual recovery.”
As part of treatment for its secure patients, Mersey Care will deliver occupational therapy, meaningful activity and learning opportunities, including an ‘Activities of Daily Living Kitchen’ which allows patients to practice a range of instrumental tasks including meal preparation and cooking, so they are better equipped to care for themselves independently when they move on from services.”
The new Life Rooms will support up to 96 patients a day and provides structured courses, many of which have been developed alongside patients, and delivered by some of the most experienced forensic care practitioners in the NHS.
Elaine Darbyshire, Mersey Care’s Executive Director of Communications, Estates and Participation, who has driven this project, said: “Since 2016 The Life Rooms has become a focal point for our communities around Liverpool and Southport. We wanted to bring that care model to some of the most vulnerable and restricted people in our care, who have no access to the community.
“This is an equitable offer to those in our care regardless of their status and abilities, who are often our most isolated and regulated patient groups. It gives our secure patients some additional support to help them move on from secure services safely and sustainably and hopefully supports them to a life beyond care.”
The Life Rooms at Ashworth was officially opened by Trust Chair Rosie Cooper and Executive Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Executive of Non-Clinical Services Trish Bennett.