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Acute Mental Illness

Acute mental illness is characterized by significant and distressing symptoms of a mental illness requiring immediate treatment. This may be the person''s first experience of mental illness, a repeat episode or the worsening of symptoms of an oft en continuing mental illness.

The onset of acute mental illness is sudden or rapid and the symptoms usually respond to treatment. In view of this, admission to the Acute Wards can be voluntary, (whereby the person chooses to become a patient at MCH) or else compulsory. The latter normally takes place when the person''s behaviour and actions indicate being at risk of causing serious harm to the self or to others. In this regard, receiving immediate treatment becomes a priority. If a person feels that s/he has been admitted unjustly, and in a way that goes against the Mental Health Act, the patient or his relatives may make an appeal through the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

When a person becomes an in-patient at MCH due to his/her acute mental illness, a care plan is drawn by the multi disciplinary team. Routine tests, medical tests and medication assessment and intervention are carried out. As the person''s mental health becomes more stable, the person is first sent ‘on leave'', meaning that s/he would still be on the medical records of MCH, and is eventually discharged. Follow-up visits with the consultant and/or the multi disciplinary team can be offered, either at MCH or else within the community services.

A. Mixed Admission Ward (MAW)

The MAW caters for persons experiencing a first and/or an acute psychiatric episode. The ages of patients can vary from 12 to 90 years. Males and females are catered for in separate areas. Common areas are shared and include: the TV room, a smoking area, the dining room and the surrounding outdoor area. Patients are normally discharged or transferred to other wards if their stay exceeds 8 weeks.

B. Male Ward 1 (MW1)

MW1 is an acute ward and has a capacity of 20 beds.  Male patients are admitted to the ward during acute psychiatric and substance misuse episodes. The person can remain in the ward as long as necessary.

C. Secure Unit (Males)

The Secure Unit has four one-bedded rooms for a single person. These rooms are as basic as possible in order to avoid the possibility of the person harming him/herself. Patients here are normally going through a phase in which normal supervision in other wards would not be enough. Moreover there would be the risk that the person may seriously harm himself or others. Some people may is conceive these rooms as being similar to prison cells however the multi mate priority here is to provide treatment within a safe environment. As soon as the person''s mental illness becomes more stable, s/he is discharged or transferred to the appropriate wards. Like all other units, the Secure Unit is run under clearly defined home office rules.

D. Female Ward 1 (Including female secure care, comorbid addiction and forensics)

FW1 is a medium to long term admission ward and caters for persons who experience the whole spectrum of psychiatric disorders. This means that there are patients with different diagnosis and ages being cared for. There are a number of dormitories with a total of 24 beds. Within the same premises there are also 5 time-out rooms in order to provide intensive and secure care for a single person and the Multi–Purpose Unit that provides care for female patients with a dual diagnosis of substance misuse and mental health problems, or requiring forensic psychiatric care. Patients in FW1 often require long-term care.

E. Dual Diagnosis Unit (DDU, Males)

The DDU caters for 8 adult male patients with a dual diagnosis of substance misuse and a concomitant psychiatric problem. Patients can be admitted from the community or can be transferred from the admission wards at Mount Carmel Hospital. The patients follow a day program in the ward for a maximum of 6 weeks. A treatment plan that goes beyond their stay at DDU is discussed with them. During their stay, patients are encouraged to make use of other community services, agencies and non-governmental organizations. They eventually either go back to the community, or are transferred to a drug rehabilitation program or, if requiring further stabilization, are transferred to other wards.

G. Asylum Seekers Unit

This unit is a medium secure unit that caters for 10 irregular immigrants transferred from detention centres due to episodes of mental illness. As there is a ‘mixed gender'' policy in this ward there are a female and a male nurse, together with a Police Officer for security reasons. A Medical Officer on call provides assistance when needed. Patients may also be transferred to and from Mater Dei Hospital and Mount Carmel Hospital as necessary.

H. Forensic Ward (Males)

This ward caters for people in need of specialist psychiatric care who have a criminal sentence. There are wardens and protocols to guide professionals during the course of the patients'' care. Nurses within the unit give general nursing care and Level 1 Supervision, observe, administer and monitor the treatment and may accompany pati ents during emergency visits to Mater Dei Hospital