Lakeside – Learning Disability and Autism Services


Lakeside provides time-focused, positive and specialist support for men and women with a learning disability and those with autism in a therapeutic and caring environment focused on promoting independence.

We provide expert support to help people develop or redevelop their social, educational and vocational skills with the ultimate aim of helping them progress to successful semi-independent or independent living wherever possible.

Our focus is on empowering individuals, developing and increasing confidence levels, and enabling people to overcome barriers that may be restricting their ability to live meaningful lives.


Who can we support?

We provide specialist diagnostic assessment and treatment for adult men and women with learning disabilities and autism who may be moving through their care pathway from hospital towards the community, or those who are already living in the community but may need additional support for a time.

Where people have additional mental health needs, these can also be supported at Lakeside.

No two people are the same and our learning disability and autism wards offer a flexible approach that is adapted to meet the needs of the person.


Our focus and aim

Following the Transforming Care agenda, the focus of our learning disability and autism pathway is to provide a time limited, respectful and supportive environment where autonomy and choice are promoted. We aim to enable people to move on and return to their home communities through a planned and partnership approach.

Lakeside provides expert treatment and support through bespoke therapy and nursing interventions to help support people to develop or re-develop their social, educational and vocational skills. The multi-disciplinary team supports people using targeted and adapted psychological interventions such as mindfulness and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT).

Care is personalised, holistic and focuses on the whole person, including their abilities, needs and aspirations, with particular attention paid to an individual’s functional performance and its enhancement.

Our ultimate goal is to help people progress to a more positive future and, wherever possible, to semi-independent or independent living.


People at the heart of their care

Lakeside encourages everyone supported in its learning disability and autism wards to take an active and collaborative role in their care wherever possible.

People are encouraged to work collaboratively with the Multidisciplinary team in the planning of their care and to attend admission, MDT , (CPA) Care Programme Approach and pre-discharge meetings.

Some people may, because of their learning disability, find it more difficult to be directly involved in the planning of their care. They are supported with the involvement of carers, family and professionals involved in their care.

They will be supported in this by a Registered General Nurse who is our Physical Health Lead who will work with them to develop and review care plans. Capacity and consent is assessed monthly and there is also a monthly patient forum which people are encouraged to attend. Every person is also encouraged to access advocacy support, via our independent advocacy service.

People are encouraged and supported to take an active role in shaping their day, to participate in community or work skills programmes to help them develop their skills in a community setting and to prepare for discharge. There are also courses organised by local Recovery Colleges, offering a variety of skills-based programmes, to help enhance the individual experience. People’s choices of how to spend their time socially and for leisure are also supported.

Social and leisure programmes are also offered and include visits to local amenities or places of interest further afield such as animal sanctuaries (Woburn Abbey) or nature areas for example.

We aim to help as many people as possible learn:

  • Greater interpersonal skills
  • Coping skills and stress management techniques
  • An understanding of their abilities and challenges and how to overcome these
  • How to effectively engage in groups or individually
  • How to communicate and co-operate with others
  • How to develop concentration and the ability to manage emotions

Lakeside is part of the STOMP (Stop Over-Medication of People – with autism or learning disability) pledge to reduce the use of medication for people with a learning disability, autism or both. Since becoming part of the pledge, Lakeside has seen a big reduction in its use of PRN medication.


Therapeutic Interventions

Lakeside’s Therapeutic Services Group (TSG) The TSG is led by a Consultant Clinical Psychologist/Head of Therapies, and comprises of qualified and Assistant Psychologists, qualified and assistant Occupational Therapists, qualified and assistant Speech and Language Therapists, an Art Psychotherapist and a specialist therapeutic fitness instructing team (Psychesoma).

This multi-therapeutic team provide direct input into people’s care, as well as providing input into staff teams so that they are able to promote and support individualised rehabilitation via therapeutic activities and interventions developed by TSG.

The aim of the TSG is to promote rehabilitation within Lakeside, a Complex Care Rehabilitation setting, such that Lakeside is never any individual’s final destination. Our overarching goal is to provide treatments that help individuals receiving care at Lakeside to be successfully discharged back into the community.


Clinically Effective Psychological Treatment Approaches and Core Interventions

Our learning disability and autism wards use as an over-arching model of care, as recommended by NICE guidelines – which uses Positive Behaviour Support.

The Learning Disabilities/ASD treatment pathway provides NICE guidance-informed assessment and interventions in four phases which are:

  • 12 week Assessment and Treatment Planning Phase
  • Stabilisation Phase
  • Exploration and Change Phase
  • Relapse Prevention and Moving on Phase

Throughout the person’s treatment pathway, interventions are available on an individual and group basis, and of high and low intensity, and through direct/indirect and consultation methods including unit coping skills. The aim of these sessions is to provide adaptive ways of coping with distress to help people to be able to better manage their emotions day to day. They have been adapted to the individual needs of the person and are informed by Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) principles of mindfulness, coping with crisis and emotional regulation.

Other low and high intensity interventions available include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness, Fire-setters intervention and other psychological interventions are also used.

Lakeside – Learning Disability and Autism Services Brochure

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