About the Mildred Creak Unit (MCU)

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The Mildred Creak Unit (MCU) is an intensive intervention 10 place unit (seven inpatient beds and three day places), admitting children from 7 to 13 years of age with a range of mental health problems such as eating disorders, somatising disorders and other emotional and behavioural disorders.

The unit forms a fundamental part of the integrated service offered by the Psychological and Mental Health Services at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Although the unit has a particular interest in somatoform disorders, we treat a wide range of child psychiatric conditions including mood disorders, eating disorders, psychotic disorders, attachment disorders and pervasive developmental disorders.

The unit offers a therapeutic environment with a structured programme. There are lots of opportunities for a child to put their feelings into words, as well as educational and leisure activities. This structure creates a safe framework for individual, family and group work.

The unit serves families from diverse communities across England. Staff are keen to support and celebrate the different cultural and religious traditions of families and children attending the unit. Staff recognise that direct and indirect discrimination may impact on the wellbeing of families and indeed on children’s mental health. We will seek to address these issues with each and every family and ensure no-one feels excluded from the help on offer here. We welcome feedback from families about these and any other issues as we work with you.

The unit is open seven days a week, although we encourage children to spend weekends at home with their family or carers.

Based in a major paediatric hospital setting, the unit is particularly well placed to take on paediatric liaison cases that require inpatient psychiatric treatment. We are one of the few children’s inpatient units equipped to take children with significant medical problems as well as mental health disorders. We have regular input from a consultant paediatrician on the unit and liaise regularly with paediatric colleagues where appropriate.

The unit has a homely atmosphere where patients and staff come together to create a therapeutic environment.

As well as weekends at home, staying in contact with your child is, of course, very important. Family and friends normally visit one or two days each week (usually on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening) and at weekends. Your child can also telephone when each day’s activities are finished. Your core team will discuss with you how best to manage the visiting hours. For security reasons, and like all the other wards in the hospital, the door is swipe access only. Please ring the bell and a member of staff will open the door.

Although there are no facilities for parents to stay overnight at the MCU, there is the option for parents to stay in the patient hotel at Weston House if your child is not well enough to go home. We can request to book accommodation if parents are travelling a long distance for visiting or as a step to build up to home leave.

Visiting times
Tuesday 5-8pm
Wednesday 5-8pm
Friday 1-8pm
Saturday 10 – 8pm
Sunday 10 – 5pm

We do our utmost to protect the privacy and dignity of your child at all times during their stay. Your child will be given a bedroom according to their physical, psychological and social needs, taking into consideration the needs of other children and young people on the ward at that time.

We have 7 inpatient beds at MCU. Your child will have their own bedroom. There is a shared female bathroom and a shared male bathroom as well as 1 assisted bathroom. Young people are able to decorate their bedrooms with their own bed linen, photographs/posters which can be put up on the notice board and also bring in bed lamps, radios or other small items.

You are a valued member of your child’s healthcare team and we encourage you to be involved in your child‘s care while in hospital.

Parent involvement is crucial throughout the course of admission in order to help children make progress. Nursing staff ring parents and carers to give a daily handover. Each child and family has regular family sessions with the family therapist and other members of the team, which is an important part of their treatment. Parents are also invited to regular meetings with the consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and other staff, which gives you a chance to ask questions and be updated about your child’s treatment.

We invite parents to eat with their child on the unit when visiting. As the admission progresses it may be more helpful to have time off the unit at mealtimes for your child to practice meal management, socialising and being outside, for example.

The Mildred Creak Unit has a lounge area with comfy chairs, a TV, a DVD player, books, board games and a Wii. There is a dining room where staff and patients (and parents when visiting) eat together and also a roof garden. The children attend the well-resourced hospital school, usually twice a day, and we try to make good use of our roof garden and the local parks.

The Activity Centre is found on Level 2 of the Southwood Building. The Activity Centre welcomes inpatients, outpatients and siblings of all ages and abilities from 0 to 19 years old. There is plenty of space for activities, toys, games and crafts. There are also lots of DVDs and books as well as ICT equipment.

The Hospital School offers lessons to inpatients from five to 18 years of age. We follow the national curriculum and can liaise with your child's home school to make sure their education remains as normal as possible.

We have specialist teaching for patients with special needs and learning difficulties, so everyone is welcome.

If you or your child have mobility difficulties please ring the voluntary services organiser on 020 7829 8861 before your visit to make any necessary arrangements.

For parents on income support, family credit, job seekers allowance or disability working allowance, fare reimbursements are available from the Family Services Department. Opening hours are 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Our social worker can provide you with advice and information as needed.

The following are not allowed on the Mildred Creak Unit:

Internet-enabled devices and devices which have a camera (e.g. smart phones, kindles with internet etc. However Children have supervised access to the internet via hospital laptops at designated times. Your child is allowed a mobile phone on the unit but it will need to be a basic phone without wifi or a camera.

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If any visitors have been in contact with coughs, colds, tummy bugs or infectious diseases like chicken pox or measles, we ask them to discuss with staff whether and when they should visit the ward. No child will be allowed in to the ward if they have chicken pox.