Design Considerations For High Secure Mental Health Units
Psychiatric intensive care units (PICU) are dedicated wards for adult patients to provide inpatient mental health care assessment and full treatment to individuals who are experiencing severe mental disorders.

Due to the vulnerability of the individuals using PICU’s, furniture, fixtures, fittings and appliances must be optimised to maintain safety standards and to provide a comfortable environment for all service users.

This blog will run through the design considerations that you’ll need to ensure a safe environment for those using a PICU.

We’ll be discussing:

  • Anti-ligature features
  • Strength and durability
  • Hygiene considerations


Read on to find out more…


Anti-Ligature Solutions For High-Secure Mental Health Hospitals

Anger, fear, and confusion could be key behaviours exhibited by individuals in PICUs which is why anti-ligature products are a key consideration.

Radiators and air conditioning (AC) guards within PICU’s should be designed to be extremely difficult for an individual to use the appliance as a ligature risk.

It can be believed that ligature risks take place above head height. Whilst this is true, studies show around 50% of hanging suicides are not fully suspended—ligature points below head level are commonly used.

These points may come from less obvious places, like a radiator or an AC unit.

We recommend there to be no gaps or joints within heating solutions and for grilles to be IP3X compliant to avoid anything being tied between them.

Having bull-nosed, rounded corners and no sharp edges need to also be considered to avoid harm to individuals and other service users.


Durability For High-Secure Mental Health Environments

Vandalism may be an occurrence within PICUs. These acts of vandalism can lead to individuals destructing furniture to create ‘weak points. So, it's essential to search for a radiator guard or AC unit that’s strong and robust to withstand such damage.

Zintec steel material is a strong solution to protect heating solutions from vandalism, destruction, and corrosion. For ultimate durability, we recommend Zintec steel in gauges between 1.5mm-3mm.


Hygiene Considerations For PICU’s

As we all have increasingly become more aware of the hygiene practices we follow, we can understand the importance of cleanliness in any given environment.

For this reason, PICU radiators and air conditioning guards must have easy access for cleaning and maintenance to ensure hygiene is maintained for each service user.


For maximum hygiene, Contour introduce BioCote® at the production stage, to offer protection against various microbes such as bacteria, mould, and some viruses.

Which is essential when working to keep all service users safe in high-secure environments.


Contour’s anti-ligature solutions are constructed with IP3X grilles to guarantee ligature risks are reduced within PICU’s.

With features such as, bull-nosed corners, rounded edges, no sharp points, and being made with Zintec steel the radiators and AC units are solid and robust to avoid harm to all service users.

Zintec is available in different gauges between 1.5mm-3mm – suitable for all environments.

With Contour, hygiene is carried-out with easy access for cleaning and maintenance. Covers can drop-down effortlessly. To drive hygiene further, BioCote® anti-microbial protection is introduced at the manufacturing stage.

This unique, patented additive provides an effective, safe and long-lasting solution to combatting a wide range of dangerous bacteria, including MRSA and E.coli.

New call-to-action

About Us

Contour produces a range of innovative, safe surface temperature systems for healthcare, education, mental health, commercial and secure sectors, working in close partnership and collaborating with architects, M&E engineers, NHS Trusts, local authorities and contractors to deliver outstanding safe heating solutions.

Contour is the exclusive partner of BioCote® anti-microbial technology for LST and anti-ligature radiators.  BioCote® additives reduce bacteria by up to 99.9%. Contour combines an extensive range of colour-paints is with BioCote® for a durable, high-quality finish.

Contour’s heating solutions offer secure, single-person quick access to radiator guard interiors for regular deep cleaning and maintenance.  Each year, Contour save the NHS millions of pounds in cleaning costs, therefore delivering cleaner, safer environments.  Contour is redefining the marketplace and therefore many regards us as a design and innovation leader within the industry.

Contour has a quality-first philosophy. Our customer-focused team possess a ‘can-do’ attitude, they take pride in developing solutions for your heating requirements.

Contact us at:

The Mansions, 43 Broadway Shifnal

Shropshire TF11 8BB United Kingdom

+44 1952 290 498

Twitter: @Contour_Heating

LinkedIn: Contour Heating Products Lt