Here are the answers to some of the questions which children ask most often.
There are some things that children can decide about and some things that parents/social workers decide. This depends on how much a child is able to understand about a decision. (This is called ‘Gillick competence’). The admitting doctor will talk to you to decide whether you understand enough to make the big decisions about being admitted.
Usually children coming to Collingham are not ready to make decisions about admission. Then parents or social workers make the decision to consent on behalf of children. Even if others make the decision your views are very important to us and we will discuss things with you regularly.
There are some decisions about treatment that children can decide about and some that they cannot. Again this depends on how old you are and what the decision is about. Sometimes children have enough understanding to make these decisions. The staff will assess whether this is the case and let you know which bits of your treatment you can decide about. Your views and ideas are always important to us.
If staff decide that children are not able to make these decisions their parents or social worker will be asked to make the decision about treatment on their behalf.
Whoever consents to your treatment can change their mind at any point and tell us that they no longer want the treatment to continue. Treatment cannot be restarted again unless consent is given again.
Keep talking to your parents, carers and the staff at Collingham to let us know your thoughts about your treatment.
If you are unhappy about your treatment at Collingham, for example the medicines you are taking, individual sessions, family therapy meetings and other groups, you should talk to a member of staff and your parents/carers. They will need to decide with you if you need to continue with medicines and sessions.
If you change your mind about your treatment you should talk to a member of staff and your parents/carers. They will need to decide with you if you need to continue with these treatments.
We will see if an agreement can be reached about changes to your treatment and therapy. Sometimes though, your family might feel your treatment is so important that they will decide for you, if you do not have the understanding to make these decisions yourself. Very rarely, the doctors and nurses might have to decide for you. This could mean using the Mental Health Act. We have a leaflet that will help explain this to you.
Whoever is providing consent for your treatment can also ask for another doctor’s view of your difficulties. This is called ‘asking for a second opinion’. Your views and ideas are always important to us. If you would like to request a second opinion you should speak to your parents/carers or staff. Again we have to decide if you understand enough to make a decision about this or whether it is something your parents/carers should decide about.
Staff will speak with your parents/carers about how you are getting along and any worries you may tell us. This is because we are all working together to help you and your family. If there are things that you do not want us to tell your parents then we will talk to you about this and decide whether we must tell them or not. Again this will depend on things like how old you are and what you might want to keep private. Staff will have to decide whether you understand enough to decide what we talk to your parents about. Sometimes we must talk to your parents about things if there is something they need to know to keep you safe.
There are meetings on the unit where staff will talk with people (teachers, doctors, social workers, psychologists, nurses) you met before coming to Collingham. We tell them how you are getting along. Staff might talk to new people if they will be seeing you when you leave. This is so that they can continue to help you and your family. We will tell you who we are talking to.
If there are things you do not want us to tell other people we will talk to you about this and decide whether we must tell them or not. We will always listen to you. If you understand enough to make a decision about this we will uphold your wish for privacy, unless we are concerned for your safety in any way. We have a duty to keep you safe and would need to share any concerns we had about your safety in general. We do not think that keeping secrets is helpful.
Your case records are kept safely on a secure computer system, so only the staff working at Collingham can see your personal record.
All children have a health record at Collingham that is kept safely. If you or your parents want to see your case record we can give you advice about how to ask for this to happen.
Sometimes children have enough understanding to decide who can see all or part of their health record. Again staff have to decide whether you understand enough to make this decision. Otherwise parents can decide whether or not to see you record. Staff would usually sit down with you and/or your parents/carers and go through the case record and discuss any concerns.
Your parent/carer can call you every evening. If they have not called by 8pm you can ask to call them and speak to them privately. The nursing staff will help you with this.
On a Wednesday most children get a visit from their families/carers.
Most children have to share a bedroom with another child of the same sex. We would like you to bring posters, photos, favourite duvet covers, and your favourite cuddly toys with you to Collingham so that your bedroom reminds you of home. Two members of the nursing team are awake all night long to look after you and help you if you feel worried about anything.
We do lots of activities and have a lot of fun during the day. Your pack contains a list of the type of clothes to bring. It is important that you do not bring your best clothes and that you wear shoes that you can play in. You should also bring a swimming costume.
Please don’t bring in things that are valuable such as computer games etc as there are lots on the unit. We do not allow children to bring anything which may be dangerous to you or to other children.
On the day of admission both your parents/carers and yourself will meet with a doctor and nurse to discuss the admission. We will talk to your parents/carers about you, from when you were born to now. The doctors will listen to your chest, feel your tummy and check on your physical health. They will talk with you about any worries you may have and the goal of the admission. You will be given a copy of the care plan which tells you what will happen during your stay. It will then be time to say goodbye to your parents/carers and get on with the day.
It may feel strange and scary at first but you will quickly make friends and start to have fun.
The centre remains open for most school holidays. We may close the unit to inpatients for a few days between Christmas and New Year and during the second week of the summer holiday, although there are staff here on normal working days to contact as required. The unit is closed at weekends and bank holidays.
During school holidays staff run an activity based programme where we do lots of fun and exciting things, as well as continuing work on assessments and therapy.
In the summer we go on a holiday to a school adventure centre for a week which is one of the highlights of the year.