Specialist Support Teams

Mersey Care’s Specialist Support Team supports people aged 16 upwards with Learning Disabilities and / or Autism, who have complex needs associated with challenging or offending behaviour. In addition the SST will work with people who have Autism (and no learning disability) with additional complex needs.

The team also works with families, carers, health and social care services, the Police and criminal justice agencies to ensure that people have access to the right services while living in their own homes in the community.

The Specialist Support Team also support people in hospital, supporting discharge planning and transition back to the community.

The development of the Specialist Support teams is part of a national programme transforming services for people with Learning Disabilities and / or Autism.  It is in response to the recommendations made in the documents Transforming Care and Building the Right Support.

National policy has mandated the closure of institutional inpatient facilities, in favour of a radical transformation and expansion of community learning disabilities provision.

Transforming Care means that services should be configured around and with local communities, with strengthened support closer to home and a reduction on the reliance of hospital care.

Most importantly this is the right thing to do.

Prevention of Admission

By attending all local area emergency planning meetings (also known as Community or Blue light Care and Treatment Reviews), the team will be aware of those people who are considered to be at risk of admission and be working proactively with those people and their care team.

The SST will be responsible for ensuring people get the right treatment in the right place at the right time. They will make appropriate challenge into the system at every level.

The SST will provide a range of interventions for people to access where they live.

The team will support locally based services to make the most of what is available across the whole county by developing links, sharing good practice, and working collaboratively with different agencies.

Supporting people towards discharge from hospital

People will be open to the SST from point of admission to a hospital so that work towards discharge can commence immediately.

The team will support the development of key documents required to facilitate effective discharge planning.  They will be actively involved in reviewing a person’s treatment and care with aim of driving their discharge.

There will be an increased level of input from external agencies (including the SST) while a person is in hospital.

The SST will offer increased capacity around transition activities by facilitating and supporting people to reintegrate with their local community in preparation for discharge.


To deliver specialist therapeutic interventions

The SST will offer a range of therapeutic interventions making them available to people who live in the community. This may involve the SST working collaboratively with other services to deliver therapies and interventions such as the Community Learning Disability Teams, Adult Social Care, the Independent Sector and the Criminal Justice Agencies.

The SST will work with individuals on a 1 to 1 basis, in groups and with family and carers.

By working across a large geographical area, the SST will be able to link key people from different services and areas together to develop special interest groups and driving innovation and new ways of working. This will enhance the current offer of support to people, sharing of skills and expertise.

Training and Consultation

The SST will offer specialist training to families and carers across the region. This will include Positive Behavioural Support, Forensic Risk Assessment and Risk Management, Working with Men Who Sexually Offend, and Mental Health and Trauma Informed Practice. 

When working with small teams the SST will provide Clinical Supervision increasing resilience and developing a better understanding of a person and their support needs.

The SST will offer Consultation Clinics where the care team request a review or recommendations about a person’s package of care and support plan.

The SST will provide training to a staff team around a person’s individual needs and support plan.

The SST will carry out audits and monitoring of packages of care and the delivery of interventions.

Find out more about the team here.