To end #OurCrisisServices week we hear from Jessica Fish, Area Manager in Lancashire. We started delivering Crisis interventions in Lancashire in 2017, and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength.
We are immensely proud of the impact they’ve had and the hard work our staff have put in to make this a reality – and wanted to hear direct from Jessica about the hard work behind it all.
What was the first Crisis Service in Lancashire and why was it commissioned?
It all started in 2016 when Richmond Fellowship won a contract with Lancashire Care Foundation trust to deliver two Crisis Houses across Lancashire – Chorley opened in May 2017 (Willow House) and Burnley in April 2018 (Oak House).
The services were commissioned to support the pressures around inpatient admissions and ED (Emergency Department/A&E) presentations. They were intended to offer an alternative – therapeutic interventions that would hopefully reduce the amount of people who would need an informal hospital admission.
Following the purchase of a house in Chorley, a complete refurb happened to create a 6-bedroom house including en-suite bathrooms, an office, kitchen, lounge, and an activity room. All bedrooms are fully furnished, and the house provides a ‘home away from home’ feel to ensure those using the service feel relaxed. The team did a lot of work around colour therapy and understanding how surroundings can affect a person’s mood and reduce anxiety.
What’s come since?
Since the two Crisis Houses opened in 2017/2018, the Crisis Pathway has evolved even further across Lancashire – we now provide two outreach services, three Haven services, and are set to open another Crisis House 2 March 2021.
Willow House and Oak House clearly evidenced the potential for therapeutic interventions as an alternative for those needing less intense clinical support. Situations such as a social crisis influencing someone’s mental health or managing the feelings and behaviours that come with a diagnosis such as personality disorders. The Crisis Services work with all of this, along with an even more holistic approach to a persons’ recovery.
The Crisis Houses have shown to be both cost effective, compared to an inpatient stay (in and out of area) and effective in offering a safer, less clinical environment.
What have we learnt along the way?
We have learnt a lot and developed in several areas. Multiagency working is key. The last four years have always shown that the better the multiagency working, the better the outcomes for those using the service. We have also learnt to adapt our styles and service offer from site to site to ensure that each person gets the best they can out of the intervention sessions.
Most recently we have adapted our offer to include those who are street homeless or who have no fixed address, and to assess this on an individual basis to support recovery.
We have also learnt to adapt with the needs of the clinical teams and practitioners, to learn about where their pressures are, and see where we can support in adapting our offer to those that require more intensive support.
How has the pandemic impacted your work?
The pandemic has meant that we have had to review and adapt our offer and service delivery regularly over the last year. Most of our support has become virtual – whether this be over the phone or over Zoom/Microsoft Teams. The impact of additional workload on the team to ensure all the government guidance is followed in order to keep everyone safe, whilst also ensuring that all virtual sessions are productive, has also been a challenge.
I’m proud of how all our staff have stepped up to the challenge of the past year – they have worked incredibly hard over the last 12 months. They have supported through service delivery changes and learnt new ways of successfully supporting and keeping people safe throughout their mental health recovery.
The pandemic has caused pressures across all services, including clinical services, and again we have had to continue reviewing our standard operating procedure to ensure we are meeting the needs of the clinical services.
Our current focus is Blackpool Crisis House which launches at the beginning of March! We’re determined to ensure the service provision meets the needs of the community in Blackpool.
Put simply we want to ensure that we are as successful in Blackpool as we are in our already established areas.