Improving mental health rehabilitation

Plans are currently being developed to improve the mental health rehabilitation offer in the city – focussing on the service currently provided at the Oakdene Unit, which is presently situated on the St James' Hospital site within The Limes.

To help us to make the right changes, in the right way, we have spent time talking with patients, with Oakdene staff and other frontline staff. We have also studied feedback from other engagement work which referenced mental health care, and held conversations with stakeholders. Alongside this, we have examined data about who uses the 14-bed rehabilitation unit, what support they receive, and how effective that support is.

Much of what we learned has been positive, but there are also some important findings which suggest there is a better way of providing rehabilitation services:

  • Patients valued the supportive staff and the care they received on Oakdene Unit, however despite the nice environment, it felt more like a hospital than a home
  • People wanted to connect more with the ‘outside world’ but some were nervous – for example, about loneliness, or safety
  • The community rehab service would be better, and more effective, if it was outside the hospital setting
  •  For some people coming into the hospital based service, suitable housing on discharge presented a problem
  • It has been demonstrated that rehabilitation services can play a vital role in recovery, but the ward based service is restricted to 14 beds.  A community rehabilitation service will be able to support more people in home based environments. 

As a result of the data we have gathered, and the feedback we have received, the following changes are now planned:

  • A new community rehabilitation team will support people in a home based environment– both after a hospital stay, or to try to prevent one.
  • A new supported living service will be commissioned for people who don’t have their own accommodation but would benefit from rehabilitation. 
  • The Oakdene building will be repurposed, but will remain part of mental health inpatient provision.


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