About: Wonford House Wonford House EX2 5AF
Haldon Unit - I have had two IP stays here. +ve : Helped me get into a pattern of eating regular meals and snacks (I never had this before). Help with meal planning was good, I learnt appropriate portions and how to put together a balanced meal - I follow this structure/pattern every single day still. DBT groups were quite helpful, I still use some of the skills. Staff were quite available if you needed support although it was difficult to ask for it. Accommodation was fine, the place was clean and services staff were great. There was lots to do - crafts and games and some good activities like yoga. -ve : The unit is like this little supportive bubble and nothing like real life. The cosy little bubble of IP treatment is dangerous because it's easy to do well inside there, with all that support around you, then you are out on your own in the cold and the easiest thing is to go back to old ways. I was not adequately prepared for discharge and when I left there was NO post-discharge follow up. It goes like this: IP is cosy and safe and supportive -> discharge -> real life is scary and difficult and there is next to nil community support -> relapse -> IP is cosy and safe and supportive -> etc. The service badly needs a more robust post-discharge plan to help prevent so many people being readmitted within six months of leaving. I found the structure inside Haldon too rigid, in my experience they were not willing to work with individuals to form a plan that works for them - it seems to be the Haldon way or the highway. I chose discharge in the end because they would not support me going back to work part time when I felt I was ready to. Staff seem to think full time treatment is the only way to recover from an ED when actually there is more to life e.g. working and living in the community. Autonomy is really important but being given freedom to do anything with food on the unit e.g. make your own meals seems solely dependent upon weight, not mental state or ability to cope with it. It would be a lot more useful to have had chance to discuss my difficulties and strengths with staff and to devise a personalised plan that would have allowed me to practise skills that are most useful in terms of long term management of my illness e.g. feeding myself (not being "fed" with no control over it). Psychotherapy - my only review for this is the fact that I *thought* I had been referred for this two years ago, spent 1.5years thinking I was on the waiting list then discovered that they had lost my referral so now I have to start from the bottom of the list again :( This is therapy that I badly need in order to try to recover from my eating disorder in the community - there is no community eating disorder service in Exeter.