A bespoke facility opened on-site earlier this year is already improving the health and wellbeing of our young people with complex autism.

Our Health & Wellbeing Hub contains a designated medical treatment room which:

  • Replicates external healthcare settings to help young people overcome anxieties around medical appointments off-site,
  • Provides an equipped space for our on-site nursing team to conduct on-site health reviews, and a location for appointments run in conjunction with third party healthcare professionals.

In the first three months of operations, work at the Health & Wellbeing Hub, complemented with other approaches taken on-site, has led to:

  • One young person, who previously had to be sedated for any blood tests or vaccinations, has undergone both procedures without the need for sedation.
  • Likewise, another young person with the same history, was able to calmly have both a blood test and immunisations completed.

Sarah Butcher, our Director of Young People’s Wellbeing, said:

Accessing healthcare - such as an appointment at the hospital, doctors or dentist - can be a stressful experience for young people with autism. Visiting an unfamiliar environment outside of normal routine, crowded waiting rooms and previous negative experiences can all contribute to extreme anxiety. Even with significant planning and preparation, attending medical appointments still poses a significant challenge.

The Health & Wellbeing Hub was built to ensure our young people are more likely to successfully access healthcare. The successes from the first three months of the Hub show it is already making a significant difference.

We are confident that these successes will continue as the changing nature of the Covid-19 pandemic means we will have the opportunity to use the hub for more on-site medical procedures, such as dental and optician appointments.

Other facts and figures from the first three months of the Hub, such as the number of clinics held on-site, can be seen here.

The building also contains a dedicated in-house medication store, two therapy engagement rooms and a shared workspace for our Nursing, Multi-disciplinary Therapy and Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) teams to work closely together.

Hannah Gerrard, our Lead Nurse, said:

Since the Hub opened, Nursing and PBS have been able to meet and discuss the young people more frequently. We have been able to discuss who requires psychiatry reviews from both the point of view of the nursing and PBS teams and plan the clinics together.

Nursing and physio have also been working together more, with pooling of data, observations and shared reviews. This has reduced the number of times young people require hospital reviews due to accessing the extensive knowledge of our on-site physiotherapist Marta Sobocinska.

The Hub was opened following a successful fundraising campaign which was supported by a number of individuals, local companies and charitable trusts and foundations. 

The Hub was used for Covid-19 vaccinations of our young people earlier this year, with second doses due to be administered shortly.

'Healthiness' is one of the seven key areas that learning that we focus on for our young people, and the Health & Wellbeing Hub supports this. Find out more about about what these areas of learning and how they enable our young people with complex autism to be healthy, happy, more independent and have the opportunity to work.

What young people learn