Chalkhill is a hospital that treats children and young people (aged 12-18) experiencing emotional difficulties, mental health problems and eating disorders.
What we provide
- An inpatient service (16 beds) where young people stay at night and work towards spending increasing time at home in preparation for discharge
- A small day service that runs from 9am - 4pm on Monday to Thursday. A separate information page is being developed to provide information about this service. In the meantime, if you would like to find out more please contact Lisa Craig, Day Service Manager, on 01444 472670 or email email@example.com.
What happens when I arrive?
On arrival we will have a chat with you, and your family or carer, to find out more about your current situation, your worries, your safety needs, your strengths and your interests in order to develop a ‘Care and Safety Plan’ together. This will set your immediate goals and agree the steps we can all take together to achieve them and work towards your recovery.
We understand it can be really hard to talk about personal experiences and to find the words to explain what’s been going on. We will do our very best to make this process as comfortable as possible for you and you’ll have the opportunity to talk further over the coming days.
As part of your Care and Safety Plan we will agree how best to support your needs, including your 'observation level' while you settle in. This is where nursing staff check in regularly with you to ask how you are, make sure you’re safe and see whether you need anything. Occasionally a member of staff may remain with you to help you manage your safety. If needed this will be discussed and agreed with you in more detail.
We provide a range of treatment options, which are delivered by a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, support workers (who are extremely skilled and spend the most time with you), occupational therapists, teachers and other therapists. Examples might include dialectical behaviour therapy or cognitive behaviour therapy. Following a period of assessment, any treatment options will be discussed with you and incorporated into your Care and Safety Plan.
The use of medication may be of help but will only be given after discussion with you and your family.
We know that physical health and mental wellbeing are linked; a comprehensive physical health assessment will be carried out on your arrival and will be monitored throughout your stay.
If you have agreed to be admitted to hospital 'informally' you should have been given relevant information before your arrival to help you make an informed decision about coming into hospital and we will discuss this further with you. If you have been 'detained' under the Mental Health Act (sometimes referred to as being 'sectioned') and are being admitted without your agreement we will explain your legal rights to you. You can find out more about what this means here.
Welcome to the unit
We will show you round the ward and introduce you to staff and young people. Everyone understands how scary coming into hospital is so will try to help put you at ease. We’re all really friendly! Watch our video to get an idea of what the ward looks like and to hear young people talking about their experience at Chalkhill.
Over your first few days you’ll meet different members of the Chalkhill Team. In addition to the professionals mentioned above, we are supported by our wonderful catering, cleaning and administrative staff. There's a lot of new faces to get used to and we don’t expect you to remember who we all are straight away.
You’ll have a small team of professionals allocated to you as your ‘care team’ who will meet with you regularly. Both yourself, and your family or carers, will be asked for your feedback on a regular basis so that we can all review how things are going together; what’s helping and what’s not. We aim to keep YOU at the centre of your care and involved in as much of the decision making as you feel up to. Sometimes your family or carer will be invited to do some family work as part of your treatment.
Visiting home during your stay is a valuable part of your treatment, as it gives you a chance to put what you’ve learnt into practice and we will be able to see how well you are managing.
The length of time you stay with us varies widely from person to person. Your care plan will be tailored to suit your individual needs. We will work closely together with you and your family or carers so that you can return home as soon as possible.
We aim to address any immediate difficulties whilst you are in hospital. Your recovery journey will continue at home and we will provide you with, or signpost you to, community support to address longer term needs.
The ward is split over two floors. During the day you’ll spend time in the communal areas on the ground floor. We expect everyone to go to our onsite school from 10am - 3pm (with regular breaks) on weekdays, and to attend our daily therapeutic activities afterwards. These are a really important part of your treatment plan and will help your recovery. We ask you to keep an open mind, get involved and try things out - you might even discover some new interests.
The ward can get busy at times. If at any point during your stay you would feel more comfortable being able to use a gender specific lounge area, or just need some quiet space to reflect alone, let us know and we will arrange this for you.
The bedrooms are on the first floor; you'll have your own room with an en-suite shower and toilet. Between 9:45pm - 10pm everyone retires upstairs. The bedroom corridors are allocated by gender. Let us know which gender you identify with so we can get this right for you.
We understand that night time can be particularly difficult for some people. Our nursing staff are here to support you around the clock.
What is the food like?
Our catering suppliers take great pride and care in getting everything right for you, whatever your dietary needs. We regularly review our menus based on young people’s feedback. Let us know if you have any specific dietary needs, e.g. vegan, vegetarian, halal, gluten free.
Meal times are at 8:30am, 12:30pm and 6pm. We have access to snacks, refreshments and beverages as required.
If you are being treated for an eating disorder we will discuss this protocol with you.
What should I bring?
Try not to bring too much 'stuff' as there is limited storage space. Here’s some suggestions of what might be useful:
- Toiletries: shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, comb, sanitary products, deodorant, soap
- Several changes of clothing, (including some long sleeved tops if you have any wounds on your arms), nightwear, dressing gown, slippers and a towel. Please bring a laundry bag to enable your family to take your washing home. It would be really helpful if you could name your belongings
- Bedding is provided. You may want to bring your own duvet cover with you, if so, please ensure it is fire retardant
- Things to help you to occupy yourself and to self sooth, for example:
- Reading books
- Writing journals
- Puzzle books
- Colouring / sketching books
- Mindfulness activities
- Cuddly toy
- Sensory items, fidget toys and tangles
- Photos of family, pets and friends
- Motivational quotes and positive messages
- Any items to support your spiritual or religious needs, e.g. a prayer mat or book.
We have a wide selection of board games, computer games, jigsaws, books, art materials and DVDs for you to use. We also facilitate recovery focused activities including music, yoga, baking, mindfulness, dance, relaxation, art, nature walks and a reading round.
Please leave your smart phone, tablet and laptop at home! To protect yourself and other young people, we do not allow phones or devices with camera facilities or access to the internet. We understand it is important for you to stay connected with family and friends though so you can bring, or we will provide, a basic phone for you to text or ring people during your stay. If you would like to borrow one please bring your SIM card with you.
We can provide you with an MP3 player and wireless headphones so that you can listen to music during your stay.
Avoid bringing in electrical items. If you do bring any such items, for example a hairdryer or hair straighteners, these will need to be checked by our works department before use (which may take a few days to arrange). These items will be stored safely by staff for you to use when needed.
All NHS sites are strictly no smoking. Please do not bring any cigarettes and e-cigarettes as you cannot use these on site. If you do smoke we can arrange for nicotine replacement therapy to be prescribed and will also offer support advice and treatment to help you stop smoking.
To maintain a safe ward the following items are not permitted in hospital:
- Weapons or sharp items (e.g. razors, knives, scissors)
- Glass items (e.g. mirrors, nail varnish, photo frames)
- Drugs including legal highs
- Medication (including over the counter medicines)
- Caffeinated or energy drinks
- Substances containing solvents, e.g. glue
- Flammable liquids
- Cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vapes
- Matches and lighters
- Plastic bags
- Drink cans
- Hot water bottles or heat pads
- Any other items which could pose a risk to yourself or others (this may be discussed on an individual basis).
We ask that you do not bring any of the above into hospital. If you do we may need to remove them from you, which we will either dispose of or store safely and return to you when you leave. On arrival we will check your belongings and we have a search policy that we will implement if needed. To keep us all safe we ask everyone to work together and stick to our guidance.
Please leave any valuable items at home and only bring a small amount of cash with you as we cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to items.
Visiting times are between 3:45pm - 6pm and 7pm - 8pm weekdays, and can be more flexible after 10am at weekends.
Visitors are asked not to visit when young people have therapeutic activities, as this may interrupt their treatment and progress, so please check this out as it varies for everyone.
Maintaining contact with friends and relatives is an essential element of a young person's care, treatment and recovery. However, we have limited space and large numbers of people on the unit at any one time can lead to a more stressful environment, so if the unit is busy visitors may be asked to come back at another time. To avoid disappointment we suggest visitors call the ward to arrange any visits. Access to the unit is always at the discretion of the nurse in charge.
Visitors are asked to use the games room. Our lounge and pod are quiet areas for young people only.
Any family or close friends under the age of 18 need to be supervised by an appropriate adult at all times and arranged in advance.
Well behaved family dogs are very welcome to visit. Please arrange this in advance so we can check if any young people have allergies or fears and plan accordingly.
What you can expect from us
- To be treated with dignity and respect
- To work together keeping you at the centre of your care
- For the information you give us to be treated in confidence
- For your care to meet your individual needs
- For your care to be focused on your recovery
- For your care to be building on your strengths
- For your stay with us to be as short as possible so that you can return home and carry on your recovery with support from your local network.
Compliments and complaints
We appreciate that being in hospital, or having a loved one in hospital can be a really difficult time. If you are happy with the care provided, we are always delighted to receive compliments and this feedback means an awful lot to our staff. However, whilst we aim for excellence, we understand that there may be aspects of your care you may not be happy with and we would like to support you in raising your concerns. If you can, please tell someone - we would much rather know so we can help do something about it rather than you feeling uncomfortable during your stay.
You can feedback your views, compliments and complaints about our service in the following ways:
- In person to a member of staff on shift
- Ask to speak with the Ward Manager (Vicki Barwood) or Matron (Nik Mansfield). Staff on shift can arrange this for you in person or by ringing 01444 472670
- In writing to: Matron/Ward Manager, Chalkhill, Princess Royal Hospital Site, Lewes Rd, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 4NQ
- Through our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0300 304 2198 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about how PALS can help.
- Through our Sussex Experience Survey - where we regularly ask patients and carers whether they would recommend the service they receive to friends and family. Find out more about Sussex Experience Survey.
Improving the friends and family carers experience
Our Improving carers' Experience booklet lists typical mental health jargon, explains the Mental Health Act legislation and how that can affect your loved one, brief information about local resources available to you and other information that may support you in your caring role.
There is also information on our website about the support and advice that is available to carers - see advice and support for carers.