Sheffied bucks the national trend @SHSCFT

The Care Quality Commission’s recently published report, the State of Care in Mental Health Services, raises concerns about service users in locked mental health rehabilitation wards, often situated a long way from their homes resulting in isolation from friends and families.  This is not the reality for Sheffield mental health service users as over the past five years, Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC) has transformed mental health rehabilitation care in the city.

SHSC’s Rehabilitation Strategy has significantly reduced the number of people in locked rehabilitation out of city and also dramatically reduced the number of new out of city referrals.  A key element of the strategy has been the development of an innovative and intensive community rehabilitation team (Community Enhancing Recovery Team CERT) which has been funded by reducing out of area treatments in locked rehabilitation. SHSC have also developed more intensive rehabilitation beds in the city to reduce the need for out area bed use, and to provide care closer to home.

Over 40 service users have returned to Sheffield from locked rehabilitation placements out of city.  The majority of these are now living independently in their own homes in the community in Sheffield. Bed night use for service users in CERT has been reduced by a stunning 99%, with no readmissions to out of city placements.

Kevan Taylor, Chief Executive, said: “We believe that sending people to locked rehabilitation units miles from their homes is neither therapeutic nor cost effective.  We knew there had to be another way to intensively support our service users who need rehabilitation services.  Our dedicated staff have worked hard to implement a strategy which supports service users’ recovery as close to home as possible.”

“We wanted to create a model of care which supports service users’ recovery here in Sheffield.  Regular contact with carers, friends and family members are key factors in service user recovery.  The benefits for service users have been life changing with some returning home to live independently for the first time in over ten years.”

Lisa Johnson, Deputy Service Director and Project Lead, said: “The model of intensive care provided by CERT means that service users can receive intensive packages of care at home. All service users have access to support from South Yorkshire Housing Association, our partner organisation, through the LivingWell scheme. CERT provides a home alternative to hospital admission.  Service users are now living independently in their own home, often for the first time for many years.  CERT’s focus is on recovery and the interventions are wide ranging.  The feedback we have received from service users and their families has been extremely positive.” One service user stated “CERT has done a remarkable job of enabling me to live in society and the community, rehabilitation my mental health and myself as a person”.

The CERT Team has been short-listed as finalists in the 2017 Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards in the Partnership Working to Reduce Mental Health Inequalities category.