Case study: Highly specialised wet rooms for mental health care

Gainsborough Specialist Bathrooms completes highly specialist G360 wet rooms at Welland Centre mental health facility

Chosen for its experience in specialist care environments, Gainsborough has been commissioned to provide two highly advanced wet rooms for mental health inpatients and staff at The Welland Centre, St Mary’s Hospital, Kettering.

Location: The Welland Centre, St. Mary’s Hospital, Kettering, Northamptonshire
Operator: Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Facilities management: GFM Limited
Installation: Two accessible, anti-ligature wet rooms

One of the new specialist anti-ligature, G360 wet rooms at the NHS Welland Centre

St Mary’s is a multi-functional Northamptonshire NHS site which has services for both inpatients and outpatients. Services include The Welland Centre which is a purpose built, mental health inpatient facility for adults. It has four wards focused on treatment, recovery and psychiatric intensive care along with a 136-bed Safety Suite. This suite required two new, highly specialist wet rooms which would ensure patients and carers remained safe during bathing cycles. In winter 2019, GFM, the Facilities Management company responsible for maintenance, appointed Gainsborough to deliver the project through its proven track record in specialist bathing.

Ian Trotter, Head of Gainsborough G360 Bathrooms demonstrates the specialist anti-ligature shower

Anti-ligature safety

An anti-ligature product is one that prevents a ligature from staying secure.

The primary function of anti-ligature bathroom fittings is to deny anyone from using hardware as a means from which to attach anything to inflict harm on themselves or others.

Zoe Sparrow, GFM Building Service Manager, commented: ‘The NHS Trust asked us to upgrade our bathrooms to specialist wet rooms for enhanced care. The wet rooms had to be clinical-centric with advanced features to support nurses and our highly vulnerable patients. It was critical that all fixtures and fittings were anti-ligature so there was no risk of self-harm by bathers. Add to this a need for infection control and accessibility, we decided to specify Gainsborough for the project. We had seen their specialist work in prisons and they came highly recommended.”

Five specialist installers were tasked with the project and despite challenges, were able to complete the first wet room in four weeks and the second in three weeks. Ian Trotter, Head of Gainsborough’s G360 Bathrooms, was responsible for project delivery:

“We were delighted to be recommended to GFM as our competencies were ideal for their wet room requirements. A site meeting was arranged and following quote revisions and full structure surveys, we moved to scheduling and implementation. Our team is well versed with operating in live care environments, however this particular project was challenging. Nevertheless, we were able to comply with all safety and security protocols and ensured disruption was kept to an absolute minimum. Working in a Covid safe way was also a top priority so our ‘Protection Promise’ procedures came into force.” Ian continues: “One significant specific obstacle we had to overcome involved the installation of new utility pipework through solid concrete flooring. Specialist core drilling was required however a solution was achieved whilst reducing noise disruption to clinical areas downstairs. Our experience of working in prisons gave us an advantage, especially in terms of tool management and secure working practices. By leveraging our knowledge regarding specialist wet room design, we were able to deliver an exceptional solution for advanced care. GFM were a pleasure to work for and we are proud to have received such positive feedback from the NHS Trust.”

Optimising environmental conditions to reduce the risks of harmful microbes

G360 Bathrooms has employed its expertise in specialist drainage and ventilation to minimise atmospheric moisture. With rapid removal of water and steam after showering, the build up of harmful mould, bacteria and microbes has been significantly reduced.

GFM were a pleasure to work for and we are proud to have received such positive feedback from the NHS Trust.”

Ian Trotter,  Head of Gainsborough G360 Bathrooms


silver bath controls
 Wall boarding with welded and moulded corners for utmost safety and hygiene.

For specialist projects, such as the Welland wet rooms, Gainsborough will specify advanced products from trusted suppliers such as Dart Valley Systems. This brand was incorporated into the two Gainsborough wet rooms with products such as:

  • Thermostatic mixer showers with 30-degree high security shower heads
  • High security integrated basins
  • Concealed cistern WC’s with wave-on sensors
  • Specialist washroom control systems
 A contactless, sensor controlled safety sink.

The overall design of the wet rooms was ultra-minimalistic to increase safety and hygiene. Infection control was supported by contactless specialist sanitary ware operated by light sensors. Showers encompassed detachable ‘bayonet style’ hoses so carers could connect only when required – ensuring the anti-ligature environment was not compromised.

The advanced G360 facilities, with uninterrupted access, were designed to provide spacious and flexible showering for wheelchair users – benefiting inpatients and moving and handling practices for care staff. The ability to work ergonomically now significantly reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injury such as back strain.

Zoe continues: “The newly installed showers with detachable hoses are excellent for washing wheelchair and vulnerable patients without having to be removed from a chair or commode. Sensor operation of equipment eliminates touch points for better hygiene and the walls deliver a professional finish. Grab handles for assistance in mobility have been considerately positioned and an anti-slip floor ensures safety is utmost for all.

“The showers, with detachable hoses, allow for the whole patient to be sprayed whilst avoiding uncomfortable handling for those of limited ability. The toilet had to be visible for patients with visual impairment so a blue seat was installed for easy location. The sink was designed to remove any ligature risk and to run only when required – hence reducing the water output.”

The design specialism of these G360 wet rooms extends to flooring, walling and ventilation. Gainsborough installed quality Altro flooring with caped coving to provide a durable, slip resistant surface that allows thorough cleaning right to the edge. This is critical so that microbes cannot harbour in crevasses which can lead to infection control issues. These robust surfaces are HACCP Approved and operate effectively even at 60ºOC, again reducing the risk of degradation and the possibility of microbe build-up.

We had seen Gainsborough’s previous specialist work in prisons and they came highly recommended.”

Zoe Sparrow, GFM Building Service Manager


Specialist toilet with signal colour seat.

Precision floor coving enhances hygiene management.

Detachable shower hose for carer application only.

The effectiveness of the flooring was enhanced by specialist Altro Whiterock wall boarding which provides optimum hygiene performance in wet rooms. The Gainsborough installers precisely moulded the wall boarding around corners and minimised joints to provide anti-ligature safety and easier cleaning. Where seams were required, they were diligently welded for a superior finish.

On completion of the project all stakeholders were very satisfied with the end result. The features met the exact specifications required and will “bring relief to both nurses and patients” says Zoe.

She concludes: “The project went very well, the Gainsborough installation team updated everyone every day with progress and what jobs were next. They had several challenges to overcome particularly working in live wards and striving to keep disruption and noise to a minimum. However, having said that, they progressed efficiently and were professional throughout.”

“The two new specialist wet rooms here at The Welland Centre now mean patients can maintain their dignity whilst benefiting from a certain degree of independence. In terms of our bathing facilities, our site can now accept more patients with complex needs, in complete confidence, which is an outstanding outcome.”

Each wet room has been designed with considered spatial planning for maximum accessibility.