Skip to main content

Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit

The Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is an integral component of the Mental Health Clinical Board in-patient provision for working age adults suffering from severe and / or enduring Mental Health problems.  The unit supports the Crisis Service and the Wards by providing short-term admission for intensive psychiatric care. 


Definition of Psychiatric Intensive Care

“Psychiatric intensive care is for service users compulsorily detained, usually in secure conditions, who are in an acutely disturbed phase of a serious mental disorder. There is an associated loss of capacity for self control, with a corresponding increase in risk, which does not enable their safe, therapeutic management and treatment in a general open acute ward.” 

National Minimum Standards for General Adult Services in Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) and Low Secure Environments (DoH 2002)

Recovery Patients often arrive on the PICU in distress with lowered levels of functioning.  The crisis intervention of the PICU is often the beginning stage of the recovery process.
Engagement The PICU staff team encourages active involvement from patients who often find it hard to engage, promoting their participation in treatment rather than being just a recipient of care.
Safety The PICU is a safe and supportive environment, addressing and managing risk through a controlled environment and high staff / patient ratio.
Patient Centered Our focus is based on the concepts of partnership and patient choice.
Empowerment Informing, supporting and educating those in crisis to develop strengths and strategies to reach identified goals.
Carers Carers are an integral part of recovery and are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of patients' care.
Trust The team endeavours to establish rapport and build therapeutic relationships based on honesty and respect.

Physical Environment

We have five beds, and are a mixed-gender locked ward.  Patients have individual lockable bedrooms (with staff override) and have access to locked storage facilities.

The unit has a dedicated secure garden area and an internal smoking room.  There are a number of side rooms for individual or social use, a small gym and a range of activities / games.

PICU Staff

Our staff include Qualified Nurses, an Occupational Therapist and Health Care Support Workers.

Sessions are also provided by Activity Nurses, and weekly sessions from Psychology, Art Therapy and Physiotherapy services. 

Multi-disciplinary Team Working

Patients admitted / transferred to the PICU will have specialist input from the PICU nurse team. 

Ward patients admitted to the PICU will usually see their clinician on a weekly basis during their ward round.

The PICU nursing team will liaise closely with the clinician and the associated Multi Disciplinary Team to ensure that continuity of care is maintained. 

The PICU team is able to refer on to a range of other disciplines such as physiotherapy or dieticians as required.


Follow us: