Department of Health

Key messages

  • Secure extended care units (SECUs) provide inpatient treatment and rehabilitation for people with severe mental illness.
  • SECUs are located in hospitals.
  • Residents of secure extended care units are generally unable to live independently.

Secure extended care units (SECUs) provide medium to long-term inpatient treatment and rehabilitation for people who have unremitting and severe symptoms of mental illness or disorder. These units are located in hospital settings.

Residents of SECUs tend to:

  • have difficulty living in the community or a less restrictive environment due to behavioral disturbances
  • lack the capacity to live independently
  • be at high risk of harm to themselves or others
  • have comorbidities, including drug and alcohol problems, acquired brain injury or intellectual disability.

Admission to secure extended care units

Admission criteria to SECUs should ensure that:

  • priority is given to people with the greatest need for SECU care and supervision
  • the preferences of the person and their carer are considered in the admission process
  • the presence of a comorbid condition or other disability is identified and addressed in care planning
  • the SECU has the capacity to engage, contain and support compulsory patients.

Discharge from a secure extended care unit

Discharge planning from SECUs should ensure that a person is discharged to appropriate accommodation and access to ongoing mental health treatment and support.
Where necessary, discharge planning may include a trial discharge or a transitional discharge, to a less restrictive environment such as a community care unit.

Reviewed 29 May 2015


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