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Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

This service is offered to people under the age of 18 who present with an acute deterioration in mental state associated with a severity of risk to self or others, such that they can’t be safely managed in a Tier 4 Acute Unit or HDU.

Our PICU service aims to provide a ‘fast turnaround’ service where the focus is on helping young people to improve their coping skills in the short term. Our primary goals are to:

  • Provide containment and management of risks
  • Offer intensive multidisciplinary assessment of mental health needs
  • Give recommendations on future care pathways
  • Move the young person on to a less restrictive setting as soon as possible

Effective outcomes in a CAMHS PICU setting require a multidisciplinary team who have the skills and expertise to work with highly complex and challenging behaviours. We provide individualised pharmacological and psychological interventions that aim to meet the complex needs of our client group, reduce their risks and improve their mental state.

We recognise that being admitted to a PICU setting can be a frightening and worrying experience for both the young person and their family. We make every effort to work collaboratively with young people as far as is possible given their mental state and risks. We provide close support and communication with families and carers throughout a young person’s admission.

Admissions to our PICU service are taken as emergencies, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Working closely alongside referrers and NHS England case managers, our PICU service provides:

  • A timely response to emergency admissions, usually within two hours
  • A safe and containing setting for young people posing high levels of risk
  • Discharge planning, commencing as soon as possible after admission
  • Early identification and liaison with relevant community services
  • Support for families and carers
  • Identification of social needs
  • Outcome measures are reviewed at regular intervals to assess progress and readiness for step-down or discharge. Young people are also given the opportunity to complete outcome measures.

    The Priory site which offers this service is The Priory Hospital Cheadle Royal and a comprehensive education programme is also offered in our OFSTED registered schools

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), please call 0800 840 3219. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here