Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Trust releases images of seclusion room at scandal-hit Muckamore Abbey

The Belfast Trust has released the first images of a controversial seclusion facility at the scandal-hit Muckamore Abbey Hospital.

Responding to speculation about conditions in the room, a representative from Belfast Trust said it was not padded and included an intercom allowing patients to communicate.

On Monday evening the head of the Department for Health Richard Pengelly apologised to the families of patients at the hospital, which provides care for those with learning difficulties and behavioural problems.

A report given to families this month, which has not been made public by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, has made serious criticisms of the treatment of vulnerable adult patients.

One key element the report highlighted was the use of the seclusion facility in the hospital's Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), with descriptions of the conditions in the room and the frequency it has been used with patients.

Speaking to the BBC, the mother one of patient said: ""I saw a room 12 by eight, with padded walls, and a leather chair sitting in the middle of it."

Images released on Tuesday evening show the room before and after a refurbishment.

In a statement on Tuesday, Belfast Trust said it was responding to the public interest which has grown in recent days.

Works were carried out to create the de-escalation area in 2017, with work commencing in March of this year and being completed in May.

Only fresh paint was added to the seclusion room, with this also being carried out in May.

The window in the seclusion room includes an integrated blind which allows for privacy.

In total the de-escalation area which includes a de-escalation suite, an en-suite bathroom and a seclusion room takes up 59m square.

"In line with Trust policy, and based on national guidance, seclusion may be used as an emergency management procedure to contain severely challenging behaviour which is likely to cause harm to the patient themselves or to others," the spokesperson Trust said.

"Its appropriate use is sometimes practised in certain contexts of learning disability inpatient services. Its usage is constantly reviewed and it should only be used for the shortest time possible with patients being kept under constant review.

"A patient is assessed by a nurse in charge and monitored at all times whilst in seclusion.

"The seclusion room is not padded and there is an intercom. Prior to the completion of work in the area earlier this year there had been an en-suite facility adjacent to the seclusion room. There is now direct access to this en-suite from the seclusion room itself."

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