The unit forms a fundamental part of the integrated service offered by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health's outpatient services.
Although we have 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 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 therefore 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). Your child can also telephone when each day’s activities are finished. Weekend visiting starts at 10am on both days and ends at 8pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday. 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. The ward can be exited by pushing the green button next to the door.
Bed allocation for inpatients
We do our utmost to protect the privacy and dignity of your child at all times during their stay at GOSH.
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.
Of the ward’s 10 beds, four are individual rooms and three are shared rooms. Children either sleep in single rooms or share a room with another child of the same gender and a similar age.
Please let us know if your child has a preference for a single or shared room, but please note that there may be some circumstances where requests cannot be met.
Your child's safety will be our utmost priority at all times.
Facilities for parents
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.
Although there are no facilities for parents to stay overnight at the MCU, you are welcome to visit your child and you will receive daily feedback from the nursing staff on how your child’s day has been.
At weekends 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.
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, the child and adolescent psychiatrist and the core team manager for your child, 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, particularly at the beginning of an admission.
Parent involvement is crucial throughout the course of the admission in order to help their child make progress. We have weekly family therapy sessions.
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.
Facilities for children
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
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.
Have a look at the Activity Centre timetable to find out what's happening when.
Toys and activities include action figures, play sets, vehicles and constructions, creative play, books, puzzles, messy play, cooking and sign language.
The Children's Hospital School
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.
Your child can choose which lessons they come to, and they won't get in trouble if they are not feeling up to it. We can arrange lessons in lots of different places, including their bedside if they’re too poorly to go to the classroom.
We also have special teachers for patients with special needs and learning difficulties, so everyone is always welcome.
Telephones and support
Mobile phones can only be used in designated areas in the hospital. Using them elsewhere can interfere with our medical equipment.
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.
Also, 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.
Regulations on the ward
The following are not allowed on the Mildred Creak Unit:
- Internet-enabled devices and devices which have a camera. Children have supervised access to the internet via hospital laptops at designated times.
- Latex balloons – due to potential allergic reactions.
If any visitors have been in contact with coughs, colds, tummy bugs or infectious diseases like chicken pox or measles, we would prefer them to wait until they are better before visiting.
No child will be allowed in to the ward if they have chicken pox.