Acorn Lodge Children’s Unit

Location: Bethlem Royal Hospital
Inpatient, day patient
Average length of inpatient treatment: 4 months
Referrals are accepted from:
Consultant psychiatrists, consultant paediatricians, GPs, GP consortia, mental health professionals
Beds: 10

Key areas: Anxiety disorders, autism, autism spectrum disorders, behavioural disorders, depressive disorders, developmental disorders, eating disorders, emotional disorders, encopresis, hyperkinetic disorder, neuropsychiatric disorders with epilepsy, obsessive compulsive disorder, stress-related disorders, tic disorders, very early-onset bipolar disorder, very early-onset psychotic disorders


We offer assessment and treatment for children aged between four and 13 years old, who have a wide range of severe emotional or behavioural disorders, including neurodevelopmental disorders and very early-onset psychosis. We adopt a flexible model, allowing us to accept emergency admissions.

Our staff are from a variety of specialised backgrounds, including child psychiatry, clinical psychology, nursing, social work and occupational therapy. Education is provided onsite by specialist teaching staff at the Bethlem Royal Hospital school.

Our unit works closely with families to understand their child’s needs, the impact of the child on other family members, and of the family on the child. Our treatment is based around a weekly, five-day model, allowing the child to spend the weekend at home if possible. In some cases, children require a seven-day provision at certain stages during their admission to enhance their recovery. We believe this flexible model is very important for both the child and the family to help minimise the time away from home, and also to try interventions within a community setting.

Patient discharge is carefully planned and managed through the CAMHS care programme approach, adapted for Acorn Lodge patients. Our unit works closely with referrers to develop a safe, tailored discharge plan with risk assessment and appropriate relapse and crisis planning.

Acorn Lodge was shortlisted for the 2013 Award of Psychiatric Team of the Year: Non-age specific of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and was the first children’s inpatient unit in the UK Accredited as Excellent in 2014 by the Quality Network for Inpatient CAMHS (QNIC).

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