University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Diagnosis, admissions and treatment

Admission criteria

We look after children and young people from 0 to 16 years, who may be admitted to Bursledon House with the following paediatric, psychiatric or mixed psychiatric and medical disorders:

  • constipation and soiling
  • failure to thrive
  • complex behaviour disorders where there may be a differential diagnosis of ADHD, autism or conduct disorder
  • developmental issues, such as delayed toileting and weaning
  • wetting
  • complex emotional disorders, including sensory modulation difficulties which affect emotions and behaviours
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • elective mutism
  • complex child protection issues with a medical overlap
  • chronic medical problems, such as epilepsy or diabetes where further assessment is required
  • severe school refusal
  • psychosomatic disorders
  • feeding problems, such as selective eating, anxiety related issues, obesity or the early onset of anorexia
  • chronic fatigue syndrome 
  • pervasive refusal disorders
  • rehabilitation needs - following acquired brain injury
  • assessment needs for seizure disorders or neuropsychiatric conditions.

There will be other disorders outside of this list which will be considered on a case by case basis at our referral meeting.

Admissions to Bursledon House are carefully planned, so that there are appropriately trained staff available to plan and implement care according to your child's needs. This can mean some children will wait longer than others for an admission to the unit. The complexity and needs of children and young people awaiting admission are reviewed in conjunction with those of the current inpatients, as the balance of patients contributes to a therapeutic environment which is seen as an important aspect of the inpatient stay. The average waiting list time is between 3 and 6 months, although every effort will be made to keep waiting times to an absolute minimum.

Generally, parents or carers are not admitted to Bursledon House with their child unless they are of pre-school age. However, under specific treatment plans, as agreed by the team, it may be appropriate for a parent or carer to be resident at some stage during their child's admission.

Bursledon House is funded to provide sessions of dietetics, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and therapeutic play. They also provide sessions of speech and language therapy and psychology.

Exclusion criteria

It is not possible to treat patients with anorexia or bulimia nervosa who are 12 years or older or patients with violent, severe challenging behaviour.

Referrals to Bursledon House

Referrals are accepted from consultant psychiatrists, consultant neurologists and consultant pediatricians, potentially form across the UK, although there is a concentration of referrals from the surrounding areas. Referrals are also accepted form local community pediatricians, but not from non-consultant colleagues.

For each individual child, the nature and extent of the diagnostics and treatments experienced prior to the point of referral, will vary depending on the services which are locally available to you.

Working with the paediatric unit

The relationship with the paediatric unit is pivotal to the care we provide at Bursledon House, and we regularly liaise with the unit to provide the best possible care. We take responsibility for maintaining up to date knowledge of developments within the main hospital, particularly a ward within the hospital where a child is likely to be transferred to us for an inpatient admission, and especially within paediatrics.