We have been discussing the length of time it takes our team to complete a bedroom search in a patients bedroom. Currently we have no limit on the amount of possessions in peoples rooms and so this is a mammoth task for some of our ladies who have been in services for a number of years. Please could you send an email out to the group asking how other services manage the amount of possessions in service users bedrooms, do they have any limits or are the patients allowed to have an endless amount of items? We want to know from those services who have external storage purchased to store property, where they bought them from and if they are heated to avoid damp/ damage to things kept inside.

We do have limit due to guidance both from the Trust and as a service. Clothing should fit in wardrobe and each room has a storage box to keep CD, DVDS, paperwork etc. Any property/clothing amounts in excess which would impact on relational security, health and safety including fire safety would need to go into storage. Trust has a limited amount of storage which all areas can use as not enough on wards. Patients have also paid for external storage if it large amounts i.e. house furniture It has to be monitored as it is very easy for things to build up again without that constant overview. Newsam Centre

Such a difficult one and every service struggles with the same!! Some ideas we have done (in various places I have worked) to try and manage this are: If it fits in the furniture we provide that is fine but we expect a clear floor, excess needs to go into storage. if it takes longer than 20 mins for a room search then they need to put some items in storage. Only allow up to 20 DVD’s/CD’s etc in a wallet that is provided, the rest need to go in storage (we have bought each service user a clear wallet CD holder – a lot easier and quicker to search that having to open all the separate cases etc). Limits on amount of certain stuff is really challenging as in this weather you might want to layer up! Section 17 leave planned including shopping lists so you know what they are going to bring back and if they have space for items planned, then this can trigger a conversation. Also – ensure section 17 is used appropriately and for meaningful/educational/rehabilitative activities rather than just shopping. Hope this helps! I feel the same frustration as it is very a challenging area. LYPFT

At Clifton House we have purchased a storage unit to address this problem. We have boxes on order, and when our local working instructions have been signed off this month (hopefully) we will begin the process of packing up belongings in these boxes. This leaflet is a draft outlining the process for our service users. Click here to access it. We are using McCarthy’s self-storage in York. They have branches nationwide, and yes are heated! Clifton House

We have strict limits on our admission ward where all property must be stored in or on the units, no other furniture or storage solutions can be kept in Bed Areas. Our two rehabilitation wards are more relaxed and patients can bring additional storage to their rooms, though these must be used for the purposed design and their can be no barrier or hinderance when navigating the Bed Area. Obviously all this is risk assessed and subject to increased management and restriction should there be an increase or change in identified risk. Moorlands View

This is a difficult one to manage and over the years we have done several things to address it. At one point we wrote all the patients’ letters about what would be agreed “maximums” in their bedrooms – however this can be restrictive in nature and could be seen as a blanket restriction. I think looking at it from an individual level is better – if a patient/service user has a particular need to have regular room searches due to their risks then having an agreed way of working with that individual about their property to reduce the amount in their bedroom would be better- For example, we have some patients that require regular (random) room searches so we have worked with them to reduce the amount of items in their room or items that need searching – so we have storage beds – which can be locked so working with the patient, the immediate care teams agree what will be locked away – so it remains in the patient’s room but they don’t have daily access, so the locked storage doesn’t need opening and checking during the room searches – this reduces time. We have also got an external storage unit and we bought big lockable storage boxes and we have worked with patients to store items that they don’t want to get rid of but yet probably don’t “need” in their bedrooms. Amber Lodge

At Newton Lodge the patients are encouraged to have limited possessions, we have guide lines but these are only a guide. There are supposed to be no items on the floor, everything should fit on to the set shelving. CD’s, DVD’s and electrical equipment should be to the minimum, if this increases they are encouraged to send it home. We have had SU’s who have paid for self-storage for their personal belongings, as they have no family to take it away for them. The searches are hopefully undertaken within 20 – 30 minutes. Newton Lodge

We restrict our patients property allowed in rooms, this varies from Assessment through to Rehab. Happy to have a chat if you think that will help. Wathwood