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Laura’s Story

Laura is a 55-year-old who was admitted to St. Peter’s hospital in 2022 due to a diagnosis of Huntington’s disease associated with psychosis and depression.

Laura used to be a bookkeeper and is an avid lover of outdoor activities.

Laura’s first contact with mental health services was in 2018 when she called the police claiming her mother and brother had been violent towards her. She became aggressive towards the police and was subsequently assessed under the Mental Health Act. At the time she was not detained, and she received support in the community from the Intensive Support Team.

However, her mental state continued to deteriorate. Laura’s paranoid thoughts and challenging behaviours led her to living outside with her dog as she believed she was being poisoned in her flat.

In 2019 she was detained under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act and was admitted to hospital. Her detention was further extended under Section 3 Mental health Act.

In September 2021 Laura was admitted to a psychiatric hospital following an assault on another resident in her care home. Laura was also diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease at this time.

In March 2022 she was transferred to Stanley House (a nursing home specialising in supporting patients with Huntington’s disease). Unfortunately, after just 6 weeks, her behaviours became increasingly challenging. Laura was removed by the police and was admitted to Juniper Ward (Long Fox Unit, Weston Super mare) under Section 2 of the MHA 1983, before being transferred to St. Peter’s Hospital in September 2022.

In addition to her paranoia and challenging behaviours, on arrival at St. Peter’s Laura was also:

  • not getting much exercise and was barely able to walk due to the restricted environment she had been living in
  • not eating or drinking appropriately due to paranoid beliefs that people were trying to poison her in addition to being a picky eater.


What did Laura and her commissioners want to achieve?

  • A reduction in her challenging behaviours
  • Improvements in her diet and mobility
  • Improved independence
  • A better quality of life for Laura


What did we do to achieve these goals?

Following her transfer to St. Peter’s Hospital Laura underwent a comprehensive assessment conducted by our multidisciplinary team lead by our consultant neuropsychiatric psychiatrist:

  • Her medication was reviewed and optimised
  • She was put on 2:1 observations and a consistent team of key workers appointed to support her
  • She attends regular sessions with both our in-house physiotherapists and occupational health therapists

Particular attention has been given to creating an environment tailored to her specific needs. Due to her paranoia she struggles to interact with others so she has dedicated space, including a garden area, where she can withdraw and feel safe when needed.


What have the outcomes been for Laura?

Having her own room and personal space allows Laura to know that she can voice her frustrations if she needs to without fear of disturbing others.

Having the support of a consistent staff team has allowed Laura to build trust in the team. She enjoys watching rugby and Harry Potter films with them. Laura has always taken pride in her appearance, and the team take her on regular hairdressing trips.

Laura goes shopping and she buys herself snacks which, along with the trust she has developed in the team preparing her food, has contributed to her more varied and nutritious diet.

Laura’s mobility has also improved significantly, she goes on weekly dog walking and pub excursions with her team and is enjoying being able to be outdoors again as often as she wishes.

In less than a year, Laura’s quality of life has improved significantly. She is both happier and healthier and can now see a way of positively living with her condition.



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