Milestones Hospital opened its Salhouse hospital, in Norfolk, in January 2007.
From the start Milestones was built on the ethos that the best way to provide mental health care for women with complex needs is in small single-sex units with a high staff ratio and bespoke care supported by a holistic care approach.
This bespoke approach is meeting the Department of Health guidelines that indicate that health care should be single-sex whenever possible. Department of Health (2009) Delivering Same-Sex Accommodation: a Progress Report. London: DH.
The Founders of Milestones wanted to set up a small, independent hospital that would help female patients feel autonomous and valued, treating them with respect, dignity and sensitivity.
The clinicians involved were convinced that patients must be treated as individuals in smaller units and offered high-quality, bespoke packages of care that can help them become more self-empowered and self-confident. It was felt that the day-to-day reality of care in large-scale mental health units did not allow for more personalised care that can help patients truly recover.
It took months to find a suitable property but eventually the Milestone’s building in Stonehouse Road, Salhouse came up for sale. The original building was run down and needed a huge amount of work – but the Founders were able to see the potential. After hours of hands-on renovation an impressive new hospital emerged and began taking patients early in 2007.
9 years later, in 2016, in order to extend the model of care to include a step-down facility, the site at Catfield was purchased. Again, vision, energy and sheer hard work were required to transform the site to provide purpose designed facilities for patients. The service transferred to its new home in 2019, and continues to this day to be a small facility providing bespoke, individualised care and treatment for women only patients.
The new unit was named Milestones – a name chosen to represent the hospital’s ethos that the bespoke care it provides can bring real and beneficial life changes for service users.
From the start, and continuing today, the ethos of the hospital is that women who have had experienced a disturbed past will benefit most from a single-gender unit with a higher staff ratio, making them feel safe and valued.
Milestones doesn’t have a seclusion room. Staff work closely with patients and manage their behaviour. Staff have created a deeply caring, familial environment that pre-empts and prevents challenging behaviour rather than merely responding to it with seclusion and/or medication.
Care is personal and effective. It carefully combines the medical model of care with its unique holistic philosophy for wellbeing that offers women a gentle and supportive combination of medication, occupational, psychological, nursing and wellbeing therapies tailored with the individual to meet their needs.