Additional Support Unit

Our Additional Support Unit (ASU) is located in Exeter and provides a service for men and women aged 18 years and over with a learning disability and a mental health problem whose needs can’t be met within mainstream services, despite reasonable adjustments.

Location and contact details

Please watch our short video on the ASU here

How do you access the service?

Admissions are co-ordinated through the senior nurse manager, Blue light meetings and referrals are received through the learning disability consultant psychiatrist and ward manager.  

How we can help

On the basis of the information learned from the assessments, the multi-disciplinary team, working in partnership with the individual, their family and/or carers will develop a statement which describes our best understanding of the reasons why the individual is experiencing difficulties. 

This formulation enables us to develop a detailed plan of care that is shared and reviewed by working in partnership.   

What you can expect

We provide specialist assessment and treatment for adults with learning disabilities presenting with acute needs, in a crisis. 

Our multidisciplinary team use the framework of Positive Behavioural Support and Active Support, focusing on person centred care and utilising the individual’s strengths. 

Our ASU is a comfortable, safe and helpful place for people who use the service, as well as their family, friends or paid supporters.


We work in partnership with the individual, their family and carers, alongside colleagues at the RD&E and other Devon Partnership NHS Trust mental health services and aim to provide the following:

  • A full bio-psycho-social history
  • Mental health assessments
  • Behavioural assessments
  • Autism spectrum conditions assessments
  • Dementia assessments
  • Psychotherapy assessments
  • Risk assessments
  • Assessments of individual's epilepsy
  • Assessment of occupational performance and motivation
  • Assessment of the impact of the environment on functional skills
  • Sensory integration assessment
  • Physical mobility and posstural assessments
  • Physical health assessments
  • Systemic assessments (how the person’s environment and support influences their thinking, their mood, their behaviour and any physical symptoms)
  • Trauma informed assessments
  • Speech, language and communication assessments
  • Dysphagia assessments
  • Dietary assessments

Care and treatment

A range of appropriate evidence based interventions will be considered by our team, the individual, their family and carers.

  • Interventions
  • Medication to reduce symptoms of mental health problems
  • Medication to reduce epileptic activity
  • Medication to treat physical illness
  • Psychotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Positive behaviour support
  • Active support
  • Skills teaching
  • Autism spectrum condition informed practice
  • Trauma informed practice
  • Supportive and therapeutic relationships
  • Care planning
  • A safe, therapeutic environment


We work alongside our colleagues from the Intensive Assessment and Treatment Teams(IATT)  who take a care coordination role and our social care colleagues to support the necessary documentation to facilitate discharge.  We take an active role in facilitating transition to improve the success of  discharge.  We will work alongside teams/ and provider services to support the development of their skills to support people to their new home. 

Who you will see?

Primarily you will be supported by our nursing team who will work alongside the multi-disciplinary team made up of psychiatry, psychology, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy. 


We want to provide an excellent service to the individual and their family and/or carers.

Individuals will be asked weekly how services could improve and on discharge will get the opportunity to take part in our survey to make more detailed comments.

Relatives and carers will be contacted weekly by telephone to be given an update on how the individual is making progress, and asked how services can be improved. They will be invited to care reviews and invited to contribute.

At the end of an person's stay they will be invited to take part in our survey to make more detailed comments.