About the rules
Simmons House has a number of basic rules which your core team will discuss with you.
We aim to work with our young people to ensure that Simmons House remains a safe place for both young people and staff; a place where all young people have the right and freedom to work on their problems and difficulties in as safe and secure an environment as possible.
To keep Simmons House a safe place we take rules about dangerous behaviour very seriously.
We work with young people to help them develop self-regulation skills and find positive solutions to challenging behaviour. This approach is individualised based on the needs of the young person.
Simmons House Rules
Bullying in any form is not acceptable.
Abuse of a sexual, racial, personal or other hurtful nature is unacceptable by any means (verbal, written, phone, text-message, social media etc).
No intoxicating substances can be consumed or brought into Simmons House.
Young people returning to Simmons House in an intoxicated state is unacceptable.
No knives, razor blades or any other sharp or dangerous implements can be brought to or kept in Simmons House.
Sexual activity is not permitted. Young people must not enter any bedroom other than their own at any time.
Visitors are not allowed to enter the residential areas.
No damage to the building or property.
Smoking is actively discouraged and is not permitted anywhere inside the building. If you are a smoker a care plan around smoking cessation will be offered to you.
To ensure the safety of the unit, young people, their belongings and their rooms may be searched if the staff think this is necessary. Young people will usually be informed about this.
Young people are encouraged to take part in all aspects of the Unit Programme as it is considered part of our treatment.
The Simmons House programme begins at 9.30am, except during holiday periods. Lateness and/or non attendance will lead to a meeting with your core team. Non attendance at the community meeting will result in a warning.
All young people should go to their rooms by 10.30pm and be ready to sleep by 11.00pm, Sunday to Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays young people may remain up until 11.30pm with the possibility to negotiate to midnight.
Once a week, young people will choose a film to watch that is chosen in morning meeting. Staff will decide if the film is suitable for all the young people present on the unit.
The kitchen is closed during group activities and at night after curfew.
The TV and devices may not be used during programme time.
Young people are permitted to go out of Simmons House during their free time and when risk allows. The latest time of return is according to age:
Under 16 years: 10pm
16 years and over: 10.30pm
HOLIDAYS AND TIME AWAY FROM SIMMONS HOUSE
We recognise how important it is to maintain contact with family, carers and friends outside of Simmons House for many of the young people admitted and we encourage this as part of the clinical work at the unit. However it is important that all time away from unit is agreed and this must be pre-planned in conjunction with the Simmons House team.
Although it might be appropriate for a young person to spend more than a weekend away from the unit, assuming they are clinically safe enough to do this, it is not possible for young people admitted to Simmons House to have lengthy periods of time on holiday or be absent from unit other than in exceptional circumstances and then, only by prior agreement with the Simmons House team.
We work with our young people to help them develop skills to self-regulate and express themselves in safe ways.
We work hard with the young people to find positive solutions to challenging behaviour.
This approach may include appropriate use of positive reinforcement and is individualised for the young person.
We work together for the unit to be a safe space. Disregarding rules will always produce a response from staff.
Young people who break the rules are met with by staff to talk about their behaviour. There are times where it may be important to involve parents/carers in this discussion.
If a young person is undertaking an activity or action that is abusive in any way, they will initially be asked to stop and supported to stop. However, if they persist they will be given a warning. Examples where warnings are given include: verbal abuse, bullying, offensive language and use of mobiles during programme time. If three warnings are given in one week, a serious warning will be given.
Reflective time away from Simmons House
Having time to reflect is important and necessary. This can be on the unit or away in discussion with a young person's core team.
If a young person needs reflective time away from Simmons House, the staff think very carefully about the reasons why and discuss these with the adolescent and his/her family/carers. We always assess the level of risk before we send someone on reflective time and in addition, as an added safeguard, one of the consultant psychiatrists has to give his/her agreement to a young person being sent on reflective time away.
Young people having reflective time outside of the unit are still Simmons House patients and so the unit can be contacted at any time by the young person, or their parents/carers, if there are any concerns about safety or risk so that an appropriate management plan can be made.
Consent & Responsibility
It might seem strange to referrers, young people and their families/carers that a young person might need a reflective time away from the unit at a time when they are most angry or upset. The reason Simmons House does this is complicated.
Almost all the young people at Simmons House attend because a part of them wants to. They might not always say this but most adolescents choose to be at the Unit.
We work almost entirely with the consent and agreement of young people and their families/carers and this applies -as far as possible- even when a young person has to be at Simmons House under a section of The Mental Health Act.
For many young people with emotional problems, the best way for them to address their difficulties is with their agreement. To do this safely we have to have the rules and sanctions. If we didn't Simmons House would be unsafe and unhelpful.
If it becomes clinically necessary to use The Mental Health Act and/or The Children Act; other powers such as The Mental Capacity Act or case-law, we will always do so to try to prevent harm coming to a young person or others.
Risk assessment and management, and safegaurding children are core tasks for Simmons Hosue.