Lark Ward: Information for service users, their families and carers

Welcome to Lark Ward

The purpose of this booklet is to provide you with information about our service during your stay in hospital. A copy can also be given to your family or carer for their information. We hope it will answer some questions you may have and provide some reassurance about issues that may concern you. Lark Ward is a 10-bed PICU (Psychiatric Intensive Care unit) providing care for male and female service users from the age of 18, who are, or may be, suffering with a mental health problem. The staff are committed to providing high quality care with a focus on recovery and involving you, and, if you wish, your family or carer with your care and treatment.

The staff at Lark Ward work towards the Trust visions and behaviours, which are:

• Work with you positively

• Be respectful to you

• Work together with you


Admission and your stay

When you are admitted, you will be introduced to the ward staff and advised who your Keyworker is and when they will next be on duty, although please approach any member of staff if you have any concerns or questions and they will help you or arrange for someone to meet with you. You will also be shown around the unit to orientate you with your new surroundings and be shown where your bedroom is. A key or access card will be provided so that you may secure your bedroom while in another area of the unit.

Trust procedures for dealing with your property will be explained on admission and you may be asked to sign a disclaimer. Cash and valuables will be dealt with as per the ward’s cash and valuables procedures.

All medications you have brought with you must be given to staff for safe keeping.

You will meet your Consultant or the Junior Doctor and their medical team as early as possible following your admission, whom you will see regularly. If you wish to be seen by the doctors at anytime, please speak to a member of staff.

On admission, you will have a physical examination, which will include checking your blood pressure, height and weight etc. You will also be asked to provide a urine specimen. We will also request to complete routine bloods and an ECG. This is to check signs to do with your physical health; you will be asked specifically if drugs are going to be tested for.

While you are in hospital, you can expect to be treated as an individual; your different needs will be taken into account irrespective of your gender, age, race, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation. We recognise the importance of privacy and dignity and will do all we can to meet your needs in this respect, so please do advise us of any special requirements (for example, dietary). We will listen to your views and concerns when making decisions about your care and will involve you as much as possible.

Staff do not always wear uniforms, but they can be identified by their identity badges and the staff photo board.

The staff core shift patterns are: Early: 6:30am - 2:30pm, Late: 1:15pm - 9:15pm, Night: 8:30pm - 7am.


‘get to know you’ board

The ‘get to know you’ board is a Safewards initiative designed to help you learn about staff and their interests during your stay and aims to promote engagement.


Visiting times

Ward visiting times are: Weekdays: 6pm - 8:30pm, Weekends: 2pm - 8:30pm These will be displayed on the information boards located in the social or dining areas as well as the daily menu and scheduled meal times. Drinks are available throughout the day.

These information boards will also advertise planned recreational activities that are available for you to participate in.

Staff can decline visitation if they believe visitors are trying to secrete items onto the ward. Under 18’s cannot come onto the ward. Under 18’s will be able to use the family room for visits but this will need to be discussed / agreed with staff in advance.

The ward is aware that visitors may have other commitments so we will where possible facilitate visitation outside of visiting hours. We ask that these requests are made in advance by making contact with the ward and for visitors to be aware that these may not always be possible.


Expectations while on the ward

There are some expectations that staff will have of you while you are an inpatient. These include:

• Treating staff, other service users and the ward environment with respect

• Actively participating in the planning, implementation and review of your care

• Adhering to the smoking, illicit drug and alcohol policies

• Verbal abuse, aggression or damage to property is not acceptable at any time and, although it is appreciated that people are unwell, it cannot be condoned

• Keeping your room tidy

There are some expectations that you may have of staff while you are an inpatient. These include:

• Encouraging you to give your opinions and provide constructive comments about your stay and care

• Your Keyworker will spend time with you on a regular basis to review your care plans and discuss your progress

• In the absence of your Keyworker, any member of the team you approach will listen to you and try to help you in line with your care plan so that your care is consistent

• Staff will be polite and have a non-judgemental approach to your needs, values and beliefs.

Persons observed within eyesight or at arms-length will usually need to have a member of staff with them when bathing, dressing and using the bathroom.


Health, safety and ward procedures

Personal property

Your personal belongings may be listed upon admission and any prohibited items will be removed; these include sharp objects (knives, razors, scissors etc,) alcohol and drugs and any medications. We ask that personal belongings are kept to a minimum and things of significant value, sentimental or financial are sent home with your family, friend or carer or handed to staff for storage under the area’s cash and valuables (C&V) procedures. The unit’s procedures regarding property, including cash and valuables, will be explained to you and you may be asked to sign a disclaimer. All electrical items need testing when bought to the ward. The units have a limited supply of basic toiletries, which can be provided to you if you or your family / carer are unable to provide them. Staff will advise you of laundry availability.

Contraband / restricted items

The following items are not allowed on the ward at any time to ensure safety within the unit. This list is not exhaustive: Alcohol, Flammable liquids, Illicit drugs, Matches, Weapons (or anything that could be used as a weapon), Pornographic Material, Canned drinks, Chewing gum, Violent DVDs (Cert 18).

Restricted items

The following items may be allowed on the ward, but will be kept locked away and used under supervision: Over-the-counter medications, Glass objects, Aerosols / deodorants / aftershave, Razors / razor blades / Scissors / tweezers etc, Mobile phones / chargers / pagers, Lighters of any description, Cameras / video recorders, Glue / Blu Tack,Rope, string or cable.

If the staff have concerns about restricted items / contraband being taken into the unit; staff have the right to implement the search policy (a copy of which is available on request). Patients should expect that they will be searched on return from all unescorted leave.

Mobile phones and cameras

Mobile phone usage will be individually risk assessed. No photos are to be taken of staff or other service users but access to a land line is available for service users.



Service users will be able to purchase takeaways on allocated days – Saturday and Sunday. Any food that is not eaten will need to be disposed of, as it cannot be kept and reheated due to Trust regulations around food hygiene.

Visitors may bring food items for service users, with the exception of cooked food that requires reheating, as we will be unable to do this.


The Trust operates a “Smokefree policy” on all its sites to protect everyone from the harmful effects of tobacco and second-hand smoke. This means that you cannot smoke tobacco products (cigarettes and roll-ups) in any Trust building or in our grounds.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy is available to help people to stop smoking while they are in hospital; including nicotine patches, inhalators and lozenges, we pledge to offer this within 30 minutes of admission. Each area has a dedicated Smokefree Health Champion who is able to offer advice and support if you would like to quit smoking.

E-cigarettes and vaping devices are permitted to be used in outside areas. Please be aware that the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices will not be permitted inside any inpatient buildings, including bedrooms and communal areas – this means you are unable to use E-cigarettes and vaping devices inside any Trust properties. Ward staff will be able to advise you where the designated outside areas are.

Being Smokefree is one of the ways NSFT will help to ensure that staff and service users have the support they need to lead healthy lives.

Drugs and alcohol

Taking illicit substances or consuming alcohol while you are an inpatient may result in you being discharged and the police being contacted. If staff suspect that you may have been consuming alcohol or using illicit substances, they may request a urine specimen for analysis or ask to breathalyse you.

You should also not take any medications that are not prescribed for you in case these react badly with those you are prescribed.

Fire procedure

The fire alarms for this site are tested every Wednesday. Prior to the test, staff will advise you the time of testing.

In the event of a continuous alarm sounding, this indicates a fire in the ward / area where you are and staff will direct you to a place of safety.

In the event of an intermittent alarm sounding, this indicates a fire in an adjacent ward or building and you are safe to remain where you are unless directed by staff. In the event of you discovering a fire, inform a member of staff immediately and do not attempt to tackle it yourself.

Reporting an incident

In the event of any emergencies / incidents, please inform a member of staff immediately.

Medical certificates

Medical certificates, such as ‘fit notes,’ can be discussed with your Keyworker. These will be sent directly to employers or the Department for Work and Pensions for those in receipt of benefits. If you are currently working and do not wish your employer to know you are in hospital your decision will be respected. A certificate can be sent after your discharge if you wish. Fit notes can only be dated between your admission and discharge date. If you do not feel ready to return to work following discharge you should arrange to see your GP for review.


Lark Ward participates in the training of mental health professionals and provides training placements for; medical students, nursing students, occupational therapy students, psychology trainees and social worker students. Students / trainees may be involved in your care with your permission.



Persons that are entitled to leave will have a Section 17 form (S17) with all details of their leave outlined on it. This is a legal form completed for all persons detained in hospital under The Mental Health Act. This contains:

• Length of time allowed off the ward

• Whether escorted or unescorted and by how many staff members

• Access to certain venues

• Restrictions on locations and times of the day

• Date for start and finish of S17 leave

All S17 forms are regularly reviewed by the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) and signed by The Responsible Clinician (RC). These reviews will take place at CPA meetings, ward rounds and as and when required. The MultiDisciplinary Team (MDT) will listen and try to accommodate leave requests as much as possible within the clinical and legal frameworks. S17 leave can be suspended by the nurse in charge of the shift if:

• The person is displaying anti-social behaviour

• There has been a breach of the leave e.g. bringing contraband items back to the unit

• There are reasons to be concerned that the person wanting to go on leave would present the same problems again

• There are signs of increasing mental health symptoms or heightened emotion, for example, anger / aggression

This is standard practice within all mental health services and is in order to keep the service user and the public safe.


Carers’ assessments

If you have someone who regularly looks after you that you may feel needs extra support, then this person may need or benefit from a carer’s assessment. The purpose of a carer’s assessment is for them to be able to discuss with staff the help they need with caring, plus help to maintain his / her health and to balance caring with his / her life, work and family commitments. Social services use the assessment to decide what help may be provided. Every carer is entitled to have an assessment, even if they do not want to receive help from social services or mental health services.



You have the right to determine who has access to your health records. Access to health records will not be withheld from the Trust staff directly involved with your care, quality and monitoring of services; however, staff have the duty to ensure that your personal information remains confidential and is only disclosed to authorised persons.

You may be asked to complete a form to say who you do, or don’t, wish information to be shared with.

For further information about your health records and confidentiality, please speak to a member of staff who can provide you with the current Data Protection Act information leaflet.

We will only disclose information without consent when there is a significant risk that may cause harm to yourself or others if this information was not shared.


Customer Services

Customer Services staff provide confidential advice, information and support, helping you to answer any questions you may have about our services or mental health matters. They can also signpost you to other services which may be helpful to you. Customer Services can be contacted on Freephone: 0800 279 7257 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday or email:


Advocacy services

Should you require support or representation; an independent advocacy service can be contacted. This service is free of charge and offers support to service users for various issues, such as representation at a Tribunal, a Hospital Managers’ Hearing, helping with money concerns and advising on entitlement to benefits.

You will find leaflets for the local advocacy services in Customer Services or information areas within the department. If you are unsure which is suitable for your requirements, contact Customer Services who will provide you with the contact details for the appropriate service.


Compliments, suggestions and complaints

If you wish to pass on a compliment, make a suggestion or wish to complain about any aspect of your care, please discuss this with your Keyworker or other member of ward staff in the first instance so that they can try to resolve a complaint as quickly as possible.

If you feel that the complaint has not been resolved, you can complete the ‘Help us to help you’ leaflet or write to the Patient Safety and Complaints Lead at Hellesdon Hospital.

The leaflet is available from Customer Services and information areas and will give you advice on how to make your complaint heard. If you require assistance, a member of staff or an independent advocate can assist with this.


Contact us

FAO The Ward Manager, Lark Ward, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, The Woodlands, Ipswich Hospital, Heath Road, Ipswich IP4 5PD,Telephone: 01473 891720.


Customer Services

Our Customer Service team provide confidential advice, information and support, helping you to answer any questions you have about our services or about any health matters.


If you would like this leaflet in large print, audio, Braille, alternative format or a different language, please contact Customer Services and we will do our best to help. Email: or call Freephone: 0800 279 7257


Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust values and celebrates the diversity of all the communities we serve. We are fully committed to ensuring that all people have equality of opportunity to access our service, irrespective of their age, gender, ethnicity, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership or social and economic status.


Trust Headquarters: Hellesdon Hospital Drayton High Road Norwich NR6 5BE


Telephone: 01603 421421


Twitter: @NSFTtweets

Facebook: NSFTrust


© November 2018 NSFT. Leaflet code: 18/175. Review date: October 2020. GFX 6306 (was 4210)

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