heather1 Capture3

Summerhouse 7 Capture10



Loads of practical ideas for improving the daily experiences and treatment outcomes of mental health inpatients


budswpStar Wards works in happy partnership with mental health wards to improve everyone’s experiences and outcomes – patients, staff, family, friends and carers. We discover, celebrate, share, publicise and inspire excellence in inpatient care – and there is plenty of that all round the country. Our members use and adapt our resources to stimulate and structure therapeutic and enjoyable daily programmes for inpatients in the full range of wards including elderly, rehab, learning disability and secure.


Click here to download Star Wards 75 original ideas

“The 75 ideas really help you to look at the ward environment – both physical and social – with fresh eyes. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that we were already doing a number of things outlined in the ideas. It was so helpful to acknowledge the things that were already in place and that by making just a few small changes to other areas that the patients felt much more confident and comfortable on the ward.”

~ Rachel Latham, Occupational Therapist

“[Star Wards] enthusiastically uses patient insights to improve the practice and quality of inpatient mental healthcare and create a more empathetic and therapeutic space on hospital wards. Its work is serious, yet never loses sight of the importance of fun, food and animals, amongst other things, in the delivery of good acute care.”

~ The Guardian 




A Happy Partnership


Marion-Janner-and-assista-001Marion Janner set up Star Wards following her time as a detained inpatient. She was struck by how wonderful the staff are and how hampered they were by the impoverished environment. Since then, we have co-created with wards lots of lovely, practical, attractive resources and schemes which are helping thousands of patients to have more therapeutic and enjoyable admissions. Staff are also finding their roles more fulfilling (“It’s what I came into nursing to do”) and friends and family are appreciating more relaxed visits and other contact with their loved ones in hospital.

“We provide ideas and resources and wards adapt and add to these in fantastic, energising, creative ways. We recognise the huge pressures you’re already under, and try to ease and definitely not exacerbate these! We hope that you’ll want to reciprocate the openness and generosity of Star Wards’ members, by sharing your best practice examples, challenges and resources such as benchmarking tools, and guidelines.”  ~ Marion


650 wards are members  (about 80% of UK mental health wards). Our 2013 Impact Review showed the extent to which ward communities are benefiting from their involvement. The percentages of member wards reporting benefits of Star Wards were:

  • Increased activities – 88%
  • Increased patient satisfaction – 77%
  • Decrease in aggression – 60%


Membership is free for all NHS wards, thanks to generous support from charitable trusts.



Here’s a sample of what staff and patients have said about why they appreciate being involved with Star Wards:

“In my opinion every acute ward in the country should implement as many of the Star Wards ideas as they possibly can. I have never known an initiative to be met with such enthusiasm by the staff that actually work on our wards. Somehow it manages to combine improvements in the quality of care for patients with improvements in job satisfaction for our front line staff – a winning combination.”

“Patients feel more empowered, this creates more motivation, improved relationships between staff and patients, staff and staff, less division, more optimistic attitude, improved mental health for patients and some discharges which I believe have happened sooner.”

“It is helping the patients to socialise and it is great fun. For example we now have karaoke on the ward which is headed up by a patient. We even have patients from other wards who come and join us for this. We are all really enjoying it.”

“Giving the service users the opportunity to participate in the star wards process encouraged and facilitated a sense of involvement, belonging and responsibility for service users.   It was an opportunity for them to feel that their opinions are valued.”

“Since the inception of the Star Ward initiative I have become more creative and innovative in the way I execute my role as a SHCA than before. I have made enormous contribution towards the achievement of most of the 75 Star Ward ideas.”

“Star Wards is a perfect example of how to engage and motivate staff and service users to improve servicers inpatient experience without a mandatory regulation scheme and high cost tag attached.”

“I am a service user who has become involved in my local acute care forum, and i would just like to let you know i think your input in the booklet is fantastic and it has given me a lot of inspiration to continue. I also love your dog.”

“Just to let you know, I have looked into this brilliant piece of work [Ward Stars] and now have all my HCSW’s working towards this, both on the ward and in our day hospital and memory clinic. I am also going to try and get the HCSW’s on the community team to take part as well.”