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Doing the Maths: Secure Unit Stats, And What They Mean For Mental Health.



In April, some of the Oxehealth team visited the Research in Forensic Mental Health Services Conference at the Institute of Psychiatry Conference in London, to showcase the findings from our trials at Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital a project which tested in a real-life setting our Oxecam vital signs monitoring system with secure room subjects. The event featured keynote speakers from across the mental health services spectrum, who raised some interesting debates around a number of pivotal issues in the field.


One of the most valuable insights for Oxehealth, came courtesy of Dr. Vivek Furtado, the Associate Clinical Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Warwick's Mental Health and Wellbeing department. His talk on 'Long Term Care on Forensic Psychiatry' shed some much needed light on the costs of mental health and the length of stay in secure rooms subjects on which very little statistical information is currently available.


The data available suggests that the average length of stay for high secure mental health patients is eight years but for almost half of them, their time in care is even longer. At present, with a cost of £275,000 per year in high secure mental health facilities, the need for improved systems of recovery and rehabilitation in secure facilities is evident, but could be aided by the implementation of new technologies like our Oxecam.


As a camera-based system, the Oxecam can help secure units provide continuous health monitoring of high risk patients, reducing inaccuracies and alleviating care staff from the current system of visual health monitoring. This ultimately helps staff to concentrate efforts on providing the best possible care, expediting recovery, resulting in faster patient step down or reintegration with the public, reducing the length of their stay and the potential cost to healthcare providers.


With the average length of stay in medium secure units increasing by 10-20% in the last five years, the rising price of secure mental health services is becoming a real issue for the NHS.  According to Dr. Furtado, 1% of the entire NHS budget is spent just on medium secure services.


Dr. Furtado's insights shone a light on a much-neglected area and illuminated the very real issues therein issues Oxecam is working towards resolving as we continue to develop our patient monitoring systems.