BRE and Design in Mental Health Network have launched a unique testing program for construction products used in mental health care settings
The new certification program – “Informed Choices” – is being rolled out by specialists in the built environment BRE and non-profit group Mental Health Design Network (DIMHN) and comes as the UK marks Mental Health Awareness Week.
The certification program, the result of a five-year partnership between BRE and DIMHN, offers comprehensive testing guidance for materials, accessories and equipment intended for use in mental health facilities, helping to standardize the products needed. to alleviate common problems, for example, anti-barricade doors.
The program will ensure consistency of safety standards across the industry, supporting staff and patients in care.
It will also simplify purchasing for NHS Trusts and other health authorities, removing the extra costs incurred by the proliferation of different products and testing methods that currently exist.
Until now, there has been no global standard for assessing the safety of products used in mental health care and treatment settings. By introducing this program, BRE and DIMHN aim to help protect people at their most vulnerable times.
To develop the program, BRE and DIMHN sought advice from over 60 experts from around the world, led by a team in the UK.
“Creating safer environments for patients”
BRE CEO Gillian Charlesworth said: “The pandemic has led to a sharp increase in the number of people with poor mental health.
“Now more than ever, it is crucial that the construction, design and healthcare industries work together to create safer environments for patients. BRE and DIMHN are proud to be at the forefront of this.
“As a world first, the program also represents the best of British innovation, with international manufacturers and healthcare providers closely looking to embrace this standard around the world.”
DIMHN President Philip Ross commented: “Creating a space for clinicians to care for people with mental illness presents a number of challenges for designers and prescribers: the importance of creating a healing environment. that promotes recovery, while dealing with the behaviors of people who at their most distressing time.
“We created these standardized tests to enable those involved in creating these spaces to make more informed choices about products in the building – better product selection, with excellent architecture will ensure patient and staff safety, and help foster better therapeutic relationships for a more sustainable recovery.
“With the interest of the United States and Australia in this program, we believe this initiative can help millions of people at their most vulnerable times. “
West London NHS Trust Head of Major Capital and Property Management John Atkins added: “DIMHN and BRE are to be applauded for the development of this program. The physical environment plays a major role in achieving positive clinical outcomes for vulnerable people in our hospitals with mental health issues.
“The certification program will clearly become a valuable tool for trusts to source products that already have specific test certification, saving them time and money to undertake their own very similar tests. “