Learning Disability Services

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Atlas House

This video shows what it is like to come to Atlas House, an assessment and treatment unit for people with learning disabilities.

Welcome to Atlas House. Atlas House is an assessment and treatment unit based in South East London. It is part of Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust. It takes inpatients and has 24 hour staffing.

People who come to Atlas House have a learning disability. They may also have challenging behaviour or have a mental health problem or autism. Their behaviour may have got them into trouble with the police.

People who come to Atlas House plan to get better. They may have problems taking their medicines or having problems living in the community.

Sometimes they choose to come to Atlas House, other times the doctors think they should be at Atlas House to keep them safe or keep other people safe.

Atlas House provides a safe and calm place to help improve people’s lives.

Atlas House is made of flats. Each flat has its own kitchen and lounge. There is a sensory room.  Patients are encouraged to attend daily activities like art, games, music and other activities of their choice.

“When I first came to Atlas House I was very scared. I didn’t know what to expect. Staff supported me to settle in. I met my primary nurse and care team.  The team worked with me to produce a care plan.

I am now involved in various groups like the ‘Making Life better group and the ‘Can you understand group.’ ”

When you are at Atlas House a team will work with you. They include a modern matron, ward manager, nursing staff, psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and an art therapist.

The team will work together to find out why you are having problems and what they can do to help you to get better.

Your families and carers will be involved in your care and will be invited to attend ward round and review meetings along with you. They will be able to visit you while you are in Atlas House.

Your care is important to us so we help you to make decisions for yourself.

Staff will support you to make choices about meals and activities you would like to do. This will be done using pictures, photos and symbols if needed. They will help you to plan your day.

You will be invited to attend weekly patient meetings run by Mencap. Your wishes will be fed back to the team. For example you can say you want to go to local events, shopping trips or if you are not happy about something you can mention it too.

Some people choose to come into Atlas House. They are not on a Mental Health Act Section and can leave if they want to.

Some people have to come to Atlas House and are on a Mental Health Act Section. This means that they cannot leave unless the doctor says so. However the nurses will read their rights to them and if they want to leave Atlas House they will be helped to contact  the Mental Health Act Administrator or hospital managers.

Patients can also meet an advocate who will listen to them and speak for them if necessary.

The patient will be able to attend a special meeting called a tribunal which will include the hospital managers. They will decide if the patient should stay at Atlas House or not.

The team will try their best to make sure that everyone is able to visit the community. If the patient is on section, the staff will help them to plan their community trips.

If you are not happy with the care that you are receiving at Atlas House, staff will support you to make a complaint using the Patient Advice Liaision Service. You can contact them on 0800 917 7159 or by email as shown on the screen: pals@oxleas.nhs.uk

When the team at Atlas House feel that you are well enough to leave there will be a meeting called a ‘discharge planning’ meeting. They will talk to you and your family and carers about your care in the community and what needs to be done so that you stay well. 

They will try to make sure that you have some choice about where you go to live and what support you get there.

“When I was at Atlas House they helped me make my own food helped me to be a bit more independent, helped me in doing activities, gave me a new life, new hope and a new lease in life. It made me more confident, got talking and making new friends.

It was a really positive  time being at Atlas House because they have got friendly staff, friendly service users, friendly environment. If I was just starting at Atlas House I would say be confident, be cool, go along with what they say, go along with your treatment and you will be just fine.”