Inspiring CAMHS ward staff to show their true colours


Implementation and Benchmarking

Unlike her big sister Star Wards, CAMHeleon (both of which are “children” of the leading mental health charity Bright) doesn’t currently include an evaluation process. Although we offer a few general suggestions on how to use CAMHeleon, the site simply offers the crucial ingredients for therapeutic CAMHS inpatient care and we have left it up to ward staff to work out how best to put them into practice. The objective of CAMHeleon is to motivate wonderful staff – to inspire them to show their “true colours”. They are the ones who are helping young people to make the most of their time on the ward. While we want to keep the focus on motivating staff, we’d also like to help teams benchmark their progress in introducing the COLOURFUL themes within this site.



Star Wards

The Star Wards community adopts and adapts the portfolio of 75 practical ideas to validate their existing good practice and provide a catalyst for further development. Members keep track of the ideas they introduce with a benchmarking sheet which provides a handy at-a-glance guide. As the 75 ideas aren’t formal standards we don’t carry out inspections; instead, we encourage self-evaluation and self-reflection and trust the wards to drive the process. We’re always happy to be contacted by wards who are working to implement all the ideas. On completion of the Star Wards ideas wards can apply for a Full Monty award which we are always super delighted to present. Being awarded the Star Wards Full Monty Award is a fantastic accomplishment, representing exceptional expertise, commitment and caring by ward staff.

We would love to offer the same to CAMHeleon wards. We’re really excited about this but we need the help of you ward staff to make this happen – afterall it is for and about you and your young patients.



Exciting CAMHeleon Developments

Some CAMHs units are already showing interest in developing and piloting the implementation of CAMHeleon in a similar format to Star Wards. The creative and generous teams involved have given us permission to share the results work on this site so that other services can use their benchmarking and evaluation process. The people who have volunteered are already truly amazing.


Here’s Susan Graham, Advanced Occupational Therapist at Ferndene unit in Prudhoe, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust:


Ferndene is a national integrated mental health and learning disability in-patient service for children and young people up to the age of 18 years old. It includes open and low secure units.


After successfully achieving the Star Wards Full Monty award in September 2017, a group of staff members have commenced work to devise a similar tool aimed at young people’s services.


Using CAMHeleon’s ‘COLOURFUL ideas’, the group have begun working on producing a document of good practice [a CAMHeleon benchmarking sheet]. It is hoped that this can be used to both provide a minimum measure of necessary provisions and resources as well as promoting new ideas for young people services.
We are very excited to be invited to undertake this piece of work with Bright. We hope that the project will continue to energise CAMHeleon and provide a bespoke tool for young people’s services.


Staff involved are: Andrew Davidson and Carol Oliver-Clinical Nurse Leads, Dr Nicola Dodds- Principal Clinical Psychologist, Louise Auld-Assistant Psychologist, Karen Lewis- Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and myself Susan Graham-Advanced Occupational Therapist.”

(October 2017)


And here is Allie Carr, Modern Matron, Adolescent Pathway St Andrews Northampton:


“ is a fantastic resource filled with practical suggestions to help make a young person’s stay in hospital more personalised and fun! The themes are relevant and well explained and there’s a tool box filled with thought provoking articles and ideas to enhance patient care and treatment by focussing on both their needs as a user of services as well as staff’s needs in delivering the service effectively. Here at FitzRoy House, St Andrews, we are committed to helping to develop an implementation sheet and to pilot it to make sure that we are achieving exactly what we set out to do – to turn what can be a scary and daunting experience for a young person into a good one.”

(October 2017)


And here’s Carly Watson, Lead Specialist Occupational Therapist at Thorneywood Inpatient CAMHS Unit at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust:


“At the unit we have begun to explore the different areas of CAMHeleon, it has allowed opportunity to reflect on our current good practices and identify areas we wish to develop on further and ideas around how we can do this. The whole team will be involved in doing so through staff meetings and also the young people through community meetings. The site provides lots of handy tips and ideas to help us through the process.”

(October 2017)


And finally, Joanna Uchwat, Clinical Charge Nurse, at Ash ward, Woodland House, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust:


“My main area of interest is recovery based practice, child development and therapeutic work with children and families. Although we work in a very busy environment that is inpatient CAMHS, my team has been gifted with very passionate individuals who are committed and always looking for opportunities to engage our patients in the therapeutic program.

I am responsible for coordinating Full Monty assessment and feeding back to Star Wards. Since started this work, the team realised that we have been doing a lot of activities and therapies already! We realised, however, that some of the benchmarks and ideas are difficult to achieve due to safeguarding issues and limitations regarding our young population. Some ideas will have to be tweaked and some ideas are not mentioned in Full Monty but we will collect the evidence and try to add it to some existing benchmarks.”

(October 2017)


As Joanna and team go through the existing Star Wards benchmarking sheet they will tweak it to fit with a CAMHs ward and eventually share the sheet with us.



We’ll invite a group of CAMHs staff to review the new sheets and select one to share on this site for the entire CAMHs community to complete and apply to be awarded for.


Please contact project lead Nic Higham if you would like to get involved in the development of the implementation process, have pieces of work to share, or to tell us your views.



More information: