2 Feb 2009

SW Newsletter #49

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You might notice as you read on, that this newsletter is a bit different from the usual. I think you might already be missing the dulcet tones, great jokes and unique style of Marion’s newsletters. I’m the newest member of the Star Ward’s team and it falls to me to write this newsletter to tell you a bit about what I’ve been doing recently. Since the summer of 2008 I’ve been working with the London Development Centre on an initiative called London Bridges. As we all know, London presents its own very particular challenges, it has perhaps the most diverse and mobile population in Europe in a massive urban conurbation with all the pressures that go with that, so my role has been to support trusts in London who wanted to add Star Wards to the work already being done on their acute wards. Fionuala Bonnar, Programme Director for Specialist Services at the London Development Centre is supporting the piloting of the “productive ward – releasing time to care” programme, and what better way to care than for staff to engage users in their care, hence the London Bridges project was born. So for me it’s been amazing to witness the work being done by staff, often in very difficult circumstances, and to see the willingness on their part to embrace the opportunity to add something more to their environment and to the quality of inpatient care they deliver.

I’ve been observing the good practice in Central North West London Foundation Trust. They’re in the fortunate position of each ward having a resident OT working with ward staff and Activity Coordinators covering evenings and weekend activities. They also have, at St Charles Mental Health Centre, one of the best equipped and purpose designed facilities in the capital; each ward having their own mini gym as well as well equipped dry and wet activity rooms on each ward. Now, before you all go totally green with envy, I’m glad to report that even here Star Wards, as well as learning from all that good practice, has been able to offer some ideas and inspiration. It’s also been a real privilege to work with staff in West London Mental Health Trust and North East London Foundation Trust to support them in the work they are doing to improve the service they deliver on their wards. The acute wards, rehab wards and secure units in both these trusts are now new members of the Star Wards Community and making great strides in establishing Star Wards as part of their ward programmes. Both these trusts are also piloting The Productive Ward initiative www.institute.nhs.uk. The objective for the Productive Ward is ‘Releasing time to Care’ it seems obvious that Star Wards can plug right into the time released with an inspiring range of activities to support care and recovery.

The following reports are from two of the trusts I’ve been working with and I think illustrate the impact introducing Star Wards has made on both staff and service users. Sue Merchant, the Service Improvement Manager for NELFT sent us this report.

Nine adult acute wards in North East London Foundation Trust are now members of the Star Wards community and are implementing a far reaching programme of improvement across the wards. The wards are located on 3 sites; Brentwood, Waltham Forest and Redbridge. Each of the wards now has a dedicated Star Wards lead and each ward has initially identified 8 Star Wards ideas to begin implementing. Star Wards is now part of the agenda in the ward Quality Improvement meetings where the whole MDT discuss and agree improvement goals. Learning sets have been set up for the Star Wards leads and they also come together to agree trust wide actions.

Two wards in Waltham Forest recently held a very successful Star Wards launch event. The event was well attended by both service users and staff and included a lively programme of presentations and activities to illustrate the benefits of Star Wards. Visitors were welcomed by a large banner announcing the launch made in one of the art groups.  Service users gave us a taste of their Drum Beats workshop and described how this and the Healthy Living group were contributing to their recovery and well-being. The wards in Redbridge have a launch event planned for the middle of February 2009. One of the successes of implementing Star Wards is that service users and staff are coming together in a really meaningful way to improve the quality of care provided.

The following report is from West London Mental Health Trust

Carol Scott, deputy director of nursing at the trust said about Star Wards, “I know that what other trusts have found so heartening, is the speed with which small changes are being introduced and that they are having a substantial impact on patients’ experiences, and a positive impact on staff morale. It is for this reason that we have signed the trust up for the project. Star Wards has been introduced now on a number of wards and will be gradually rolled out across the trust.”

The first ward to begin to implement Star Wards was Area 1 ward in the Hammersmith & Fulham Mental Health Unit. Tanya Harris, a healthcare assistant on the ward is the Star Wards champion. She is extremely positive about the project and says, “I began by going through the Star Wards literature to identify the activities which we could introduce on the ward. Some of them required new equipment and funding to make them happen, but others required very little extra cost – just an amount of organisation and co-operation. We have only been working with our new activity timetable for a few weeks and already the ward is a very different place. We have introduced an art group, a DVD evening, a walking group, a music and poetry group, karaoke evenings and we have table tennis competitions. The project is about making sure we occupy the days of our inpatients with meaningful activities. We did some of this before anyway, but now it’s much more structured as we have a planned weekly rota of activities which the service users have welcomed with open arms. It has helped us to manage aggression on the ward and it’s helping to increase engagement between staff and patients. “We have a long way to go on our ward, but everyone is committed to this, enjoying the benefits and giving me as the ward’s champion all the support I need to transform our ward.”

Muyna Juru, the ward manager says, “I’m delighted to be part of Star Wards. The new activities are providing a structure to the patient’s day and they really look forward to taking part. It is helping the patients to interact with one and other and with staff, so for us, even though it is early days, the difference is noticeable. A recent audit showed that nursing staff entries into patients’ notes are much more informative and visitors to our ward have said that the ward atmosphere is much more settled.”

Sharon Mahmoud the ward administrator has helped Tanya to set up many of the new activities on the ward, and organise the weekly schedule. She says, “This scheme is particularly great for patients who are unable to leave the ward. It keeps the patients busy, rather than sitting watching television all day. Patients are constantly coming up to me asking me what activities are planned for the day.” Carol Hastick the clinical team leader says, “It is helping the patients to socialise and it’s 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 join us for this. We’re all really enjoying it.”

For those long time members of the Star Wards community, I know you’ve experienced what these newcomers to Star Wards are now celebrating, but no matter how often I see the good work being done out there by all of you, it’s still an inspiration and I take this opportunity to salute you all, whether you are Star Wards veterans or new babies. To help new members and to support wards just coming to Star Wards we are also working with the London Development Centre to produce a starter kit with helpful tips, information and ideas to kick start (or to help you re launch) Star Wards – watch this space.

We look forward to receiving more inspiring reports of all your spring and summer activities and you’ll be please to hear that once Marion has handed in all the homework she’s had to do over the holidays, she’ll be back on the keyboard for the next newsletter.

Contact details:

Judith Hackett – Star Wards/London Bridges

[email protected]

Sue Merchant – Service Improvement Manager NELFT

[email protected]

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