All staff based in a newly built acute psychiatric unit for more than six months were asked about the difficulties they encountered in the implementation of their duties and what changes they recommended. The problem areas identified included poor design and location of nursing observation station, lack of proper seclusion facilities, insufficient ventilation, unsafe position of the roof garden, exposed beams and supports, proximity to the lake and inadequate interview facilities for all staff. The urgent recommendations included alteration in the design and positioning of observation station, improving ventilation, making the roof garden safe, and covering all exposed beams and supports. The desirable changes included extra interviewing facilities and a spacious observable television room. Consultation by mental health professionals during the initial stage of designing of psychiatric units is essential.
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