Adult psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU)
Cedar Ward
West Park Hospital
Edward Pease Way
County Durham

Tel: 01325 552140

Fax: 01325 552221

Click here to find out more about West Park Hospital


About the service

Cedar Ward is a 10 bed, mixed sex, psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) which provides high quality care for patients who are detained under the Mental Health Act and are in an acutely disturbed phase of a serious mental disorder, with an associated increase in risk behaviours which does not enable their safe, therapeutic management within an open, acute ward setting.

The service offers a collaborative approach to care and treatment which is patient-centred and which offers an immediacy of response to critical situations.

The ward is accredited as “Excellent” through the Royal College of Psychiatry’s AIMS process and has been “Highly Commended” at the 2011 trust awards ceremony. The team are committed to providing the highest standard of evidence-based practice and are members of and are guided by the National Association of Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (NAPICU) and policies are in line with the Department of Health’s Mental Health Policy Implementation Guide.

The Cedar Ward (PICU) team

The team includes: a dedicated consultant psychiatrist, a foundation 2 doctor, clinical psychologist, occupational therapist, pharmacist, housekeepers, ward manager, clinical lead, staff nurses and healthcare assistants. Specialist mental health services are also available (upon referral).

How to access the service

Referral to the service is via telephone call. Staff will discuss possible referrals and are also available for specialist advice on management of risk and treatment options for those patients who do not meet the required criteria for PICU admission. Staff are also available to provide advice and assistance within the West Park Hospital complex.

About Cedar Ward (PICU)

Cedar Ward, is part of the West Park Hospital complex and has access to the faith centre and occupational therapy department (including gym facilities), subject to leave being granted from the ward.

The ward itself comprises a male and female corridor, with separate TV lounges. There is a communal area in the centre of the ward to encourage socialisation and engagement.

The ward has a 'step-down' suite which is used for time-limited, de-escalation interventions to help manage and minimise incidences of risk behaviours, whilst maintaining the privacy and dignity of service users.

The activity room is available for use throughout the day or evening and offers a range of resources, from art and craft materials to a Wii (with a range of games). There are also individually tailored activities and therapies available which are led by the occupational therapist.

There is also a ward-based gym which has a rowing machine, cross trainer and exercise bike.

Visiting times

Involvement of carers/relatives is seen as essential in promoting the recovery of our service users and visiting is encouraged on the unit. However, visiting is through appointment only and is at the discretion of the nurse in charge, depending on ward circumstances.

Visiting can take place on a daily basis between:

1.30pm - 4.30pm
6.00pm - 8.00pm

The unit operates a visiting policy which excludes visiting by children, however, in exceptional circumstances (which will be discussed by the team) and only following a full risk assessment may child visiting be permitted. This will take place in the ward reception area and will involve the close supervision by a member of the team. Please note that there may be circumstances where visiting is restricted or terminated.