Advocates of adolescent health have long argued for the development of dedicated inpatient units. In the UK, many recently built children's hospitals have included adolescent wards, with further wards actively planned for new builds. In Australia, adolescent wards have been established in all but one of the major children's hospitals and will be a feature of all three new children's hospitals currently being built (in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth). Despite growing interest in the development of adolescent inpatient facilities, and evidence that they improve quality, there is little in the recent literature to guide those tasked with setting up or running such units. Those who currently operate such wards thus have the regular task of fielding enquiries from colleagues about developing and operating hospital-based services for young people. The aim of this article is therefore to describe our experiences of developing and working on adolescent wards in Australia and the UK, focusing on the ward design, case-mix, staffing requirements and ward philosophy and discussing the benefits and potential disadvantages of a dedicated adolescent ward.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed