It can be difficult to settle into the life of the unit; admission will mean leaving home or carers.
For the first two weeks new residents are sometimes asked to stay on the Unit and not go home to carers/family at weekends. We find this helps young people settle in and also helps us to begin to understand something about the young persons’ difficulties.
One of the junior doctors and your key-workers will see you and speak to you. They will ask you questions and want to listen and hear about what’s brought you to the Unit.
The doctors also need to make sure that you are physically ok. All young people admitted have a physical examination.
Young people usually have standard blood tests taken which your doctor will explain to you.
All young people are asked to provide a urine sample when they come to Simmons House for the first time to test for illegal drugs. This is to keep the Unit safe and is not done for the police or anyone else.
Heart tracings (ECG)
Brain Scans (EEG, CT & MRI)
Some young people also have others tests like heart tracings (ECG) or X-rays. Sometimes more specialised tests are considered including different brain scans (EEG, CT and MRI).
These would always be discussed with the adolescent, their family/carers before being carried out unless there was a medical emergency.
What to bring
Casual clothes are best. Residents should bring necessary toiletries and may like to bring laptops, iPads, books and things like posters and photographs for their room to make them feel more at home. Wifi is available in communal areas.
The hospital cannot take responsibility for articles lost or damaged so it is best not to bring valuable things.
All electrical equipment must be first given to the nurse-in-charge so that they can be checked before you use them.
The staff will help make arrangements with parents and carers for residents to have a fixed amount of pocket money each week.
All information about you and your family will be treated in strict confidence by the staff. Information will usually be given to people outside the Unit only with your or your parents' agreement other than the referring team and your GP.
It is important for the safe and effective running of Simmons House that young people and their parents/carers understand that the team discuss the young people’s difficulties very regularly in detail.
We have learnt, over time, that keeping secrets is not normally a good thing for the young people. This doesn’t mean that
everyone will know everything about you! For example, in individual therapy only the main issues would be talked about outside of the meeting.
However, if there is any concern about serious harm coming to a young person or concern about the safety of others, the team may have to do something about it. That means that some information might have to be passed on to other agencies. This will usually be discussed with young people and their families or carers.
At any point before, during or after your time at Simmons House you are welcome to give us feedback, make a complaint, give a compliment or inform us of any concerns or suggestions you may have.
Anyone who is receiving or who has received NHS treatment can make a complaint or give feedback. Friends and relatives can also complain on your behalf, with your consent.
The first step would be to speak to Simmons House directly. You can approach any member of the team, who would be happy to hear your concerns and attempt to address them with you. Alternatively, you can approach the service manager (Jo) or the lead clinician (Simon) to discuss your concerns.
If you feel that you would like extra support with your complaint, you can request that the independent advocate from NYAS (www.nyas.net) be present at this
meeting. Meetings can be arranged without Simmons House staff and the advocate can speak on your behalf if you feel unable to.
If these first steps have been unhelpful or if you feel unable to speak with Simmons House staff directly, you can contact the Associate Director: Sheron Hosking
We want to assure young people and parents/carers that if they make a complaint they will not be discriminated against and their care will not be compromised in any way.
Young people, families and carers can also contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
Phone: 020 7288 5551
The unit was built with public money and designed by Studio 4 Design Architects. After a two and half year building programme, the unit was commissioned in July 2009.
Click here to have a look round!
Extensive discussion and consultation about the design took place over a number of years; Simmons House staff, patients and ex-patients were all able to contribute to the process. We wanted to create a warm, comfortable, containing and flexible building that could cater for the needs of significantly unwell young people in North London for the next 50 years.
The overall shape and design of the building owes much to ideas around models of parenting. There is a semi-enclosed space - a courtyard - surrounded on four sides by offices, living areas and the classroom. The enclosure extends from the main accommodation like an embracing arm around the courtyard. However this is neither an arm that leaves the unit too open and uncontained, nor a stifling limb that allows no freedom of movement.
The main group room for staff on the first floor of the new building and the main living area for young people in the house have views between the two spaces so that when staff are in a ward round or meeting, the young people can still see them!
There are numerous unexpected views throughout the building as a result of extensive and planned glazing; this is not at the expense of the necessary privacy needed in an adolescent unit.
The balance between the public and more confidential spaces within the unit was considered carefully. We were keen to design a space that allowed privacy – all 12 bedrooms have their own en suite facilities – that fostered responsibility; but also allowed site lines, multiple views and perspectives: across the courtyard, between corridors and floor levels. We believed that the young people at Simmons House would benefit from this, in a literal sense by being able to see a key-worker or case-manager through layers of glass, but additionally as a space where new and different views and experiences might be possible.
Visitors are welcome at the discretion of the nurse-in-charge between 4 and 8pm on weekdays (except Thursdays 5.30 - 8pm) and between 2 and 8pm on weekends and Bank Holidays.
However, the unit always tries to be flexible and alternative timings can be arranged with the Simmons House team if clinically appopriate.
All visitors are asked to report to the administration and/or nursing staff on arrival at the unit. Visitors are not allowed to go into young people's communal areas or the bedroom areas.
Young people may go out with family members if they wish unless there is a clinical reason why they shouldn’t.
During programme time and off between midnight and 7.30am
Simmons House has a phone for use by young people. The office telephones are for use by staff who will take messages.
We know that most young people have their own mobiles. Mobiles etc must be turned off during programme time and at night between midnight and 7.30 am.