Care pathways are used extensively in inpatient medical and surgical services to facilitate the delivery of evidence-based health care. There is a growing interest in their use in the mental health arena. However, questions remain about their acceptability to service users and staff. Most current literature is aimed at communicating the value of care pathways. Consequently, issues that are particularly pertinent to mental health, like language, therapeutic relationships and individualized care have not been fully addressed. This paper reports on the development of a care pathway in residential services in Nottingham. It will illustrate how by working in multidisciplinary groups with service users and carers these issues were incorporated into a comprehensive pathway that follows the service user's journey from admission to discharge. The paper concludes by highlighting some of the challenges of care pathway implementation and suggests ways they can be overcome.