North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (previously 5 Boroughs NHS Foundation Trust) required a step-change in the quality of their mental health inpatient environments, to meet current mental healthcare standards.
Having considered the suitability of its existing accommodation at Leigh Infirmary, it was recognised that the physical environment within Leigh presented a significant barrier to delivering the high quality, therapeutic mental healthcare that the Trust aimed to achieve.
The existing building did not provide sufficient space for personal, therapeutic or leisure activities for residents, and the layout of the facility was inefficient in terms of workflow management and patient observation. Significant environmental risks existed, particularly around ligature points and access, and as a result the unit was not compliant with modern mental health guidelines.
A new-build mental health unit – Atherleigh Park – was the option that best met these issues. Atherleigh Park represents a major transformation in the care pathway and overall estate rationalisation for the Trust, located in the heart of the Leigh community it serves. The ambitious flagship design was led from the outset by service users and staff, who worked tirelessly with our team from the start to deliver a purpose-built mental health environment.
The completed facility provides high quality inpatient services for adults suffering from mental ill health, as well as patients with dementia and memory conditions. It comprises an 8-bed Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), 40-bed Working Age Adult and 38-bed Later Life Memory Service, as well as central coffee shop, nature and trim trails, a dedicated sports hall and gym alongside relaxation rooms, therapy rooms and activity gardens for each ward.
The new facility was designed to provide a healthy and therapeutic environment for patients, offering new ways of working and improved patient experience with a focus on promoting privacy and dignity within an environment of holistic care.
Atherleigh Park has already been recognised as an exemplar for the future of mental health design. It provides service users with a welcoming, safe environment that promotes their mental health and wellbeing as well as their physical health.
A Post-Occupancy Evaluation undertaken once in-use surveyed over 120 service users and staff to get their opinions on the new unit. This confirmed that all original Trust business case benefits have been realised, with multiple several positive outcomes for staff and service users including shorter lengths of stay, reduced incidents of violence and aggression, increased patient experience satisfaction, significant energy savings and improved staff recruitment, retention and satisfaction.
The new environment is light, bright and airy, and a significant improvement upon the previous accommodation; comments from residents have compared it to an upmarket hotel. Kier worked closely with the local community, service users, carers and front-line staff throughout the design development process, ensuring that service users had a stake in their own accommodation – with their choices reflected in the final design and choice of interior design and artwork.
" “Atherleigh Park is a facility the Leigh and Wigan communities, and indeed the north west, can be proud of. I am incredibly proud of all the hard work that has gone into making Atherleigh Park a reality. It is a fantastic facility and will make a huge difference to the lives of not only the patients who are treated here but their families too.” "Trust Representative
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