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St Andrew’s Healthcare: Extending highly specialist neurobehavioural care

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As the creator of Kemsley, the UK’s first specialist neurobehavioural unit for brain injury patients, St Andrew’s Healthcare has been an esteemed name in brain injury care and rehabilitation for over 40 years. 

Accepting patients from across the country into its Northampton hospital, St Andrew’s has a long-established pathway of rehabilitation, enabling people to rebuild lives and maximise independence even after the most serious of brain injuries. 

And now, St Andrew’s is growing its provision even further, with the creation of a new dedicated ward for men with brain injury. 

Church ward – set to open in April – becomes the fifth specialist ward within the male brain injury pathway, adding to the existing Rose, Tallis, Allitsen and Tavener wards. 

This will, in total, provide 69 male and 12 female inpatient beds on Elgar ward, which also feed into the hospital registered houses adjacent to the main campus.

As well as delivering vital additional beds with rehabilitation starting at the earliest stage, it also creates another step in the St Andrew’s brain injury pathway. 

Dr Muthusamy Natarajan is Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director for the Neuropsychiatry Service at St Andrew’s Healthcare.

Dr Natarajan says: “This creates another layer to our pathway, as well as bringing more beds – we know the demand that exists and that the wait for a bed for people nationally can be very long, and we want to help more patients wherever we can”

There is a waiting list in place across St Andrew’s; Tallis acute admissions ward, as well as on Allitsen and Tavener wards which take patients as they move through the brain injury pathway. 

The creation of the ten bed Church ward will enable people with a complex ABI or TBI to secure a placement that they so badly need whilst adding a crucial additional step in the move between admission and rehabilitation.

“Patients who have a high acuity with significant personal care needs or complex physical health can go to Tallis or Church – but in Tallis, we admit patients with more significant personal care needs where we need a lot more space to meet those needs.” says Dr Natarajan. 

Acutely aware of the demand that exists on a national basis, St Andrew’s is keen to support patients on as wide a scale as possible. 

While patients from across the country have been admitted to its Northampton site for the past 40 years – with the network of support also extending to their families – the provider is looking at ways to use its expertise to best effect. 

With a focus on enabling independence for people at the end of the brain injury pathway, St Andrew’s is looking at ways it can deliver more support in the community. 

“We can only create a certain amount of inpatient beds, so we want to look at patients being  enabled and supported in their own homes,” says Dr Natarajan. 

“We want to look at what care closer to home looks like.

“Our Brain Injury unit is a national inpatient service so our expertise is based here in Northampton, but as we look to expand our offering, realistically we can’t just reach out into 20 places across the country and expect the same level of expertise there straight away. 

“It’s very important to consider this in the future when modelling care delivery, and when assessing  what the need is for step-down services.

“Demand is there in a fairly uniform pattern across the country, so in the future, we will be looking at in-home packages and outreach models. 

“I think this is something that is very much needed, rather than necessarily looking at how we can increase inpatient capacity.”

Support for other neurological conditions, including the growing focus on Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) within neurorehabilitation, is also being looked at. 

“We are looking at a possible clinic option. Of course, FND is a potential inpatient service delivery, but our focus is on non-bed services for this activity,” says Dr Natarajan. 

“We want to make sure we are in several spaces, not just inpatient, and non-bed services are a very important way of us being able to achieve this.

“It is very exciting for us to be able to look at options like this, which will be in addition to developing our core services, but will also allow us to expand into new areas of provision. 

“We are mindful of the scale of demand and the need that exists – and we hope to find ways of using our expertise to help support this.”

To find out more visit; Neuropsychiatry services – brain injury » St Andrew’s Healthcare (stah.org) or to discuss a referral into Church or one of St Andrew’s other brain injury wards please speak to Kenny Ajayi in the Admissions team on 01604 872 754 

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