Wardipedia – 60. Ward website

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Ideally your hospital/Trust will have a fantastic website – informative, easy to navigate, reassuring, honest, colourful, attractive…. But even if they don’t, it should be possible to set up your own ward website. Well, the easy bit is finding a free DIY website builders such as Weebly. The challenge will be to convince your IT department that it is essential for the ward to have a website, whether ‘stand-alone’ or as part of the Trust’s website. Here’s a handy list of reasons to give colleagues about why a website is pretty essential:

  • Provides information for current inpatients and friends and family
  • Provides information for potential inpatients and friends and family
  • Helps off-set the invisibility of inpatient care and the fear, stigma and myths this perpetuates
  • Celebrates the work you’re proud of

Creating a website

A great website…

  • is friendly, informative and stigma-reducing
  • is designed for both patients and their friends and family
  • includes information about mental health
  • promotes positives
  • portrays the benefits of staying on the ward
  • explains treatment options
  • talks about the unique aspects of ward

Example of a typical site structure


  • What does the ward do?
  • How does the ward work?
  • Contact details
  • Staff details / introductions

Practical issues:

  • What do I need to bring to the ward?
  • Meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Buying things
  • Telephone and internet access
  • Getting money
  • Visiting times
  • The environment
  • Vehicles and driving
  • Safety of patients and staff
  • Language and communication

Activities and other services:

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Ward activities and groups
  • Ward forum
  • Wellbeing clinic

Other useful information to include

  • Food and drink
  • Safety and privacy
  • Sectioning
  • Special needs
  • Leaving the ward
  • Medication
  • Night time
  • Advocacy
  • Money and benefits
  • Complaints
  • Ward round
  • Care plan

Other ideas for content

The ward experience

  • A ‘life on the ward’ blog
  • An honest but inviting account of what to expect during the ward stay:
  • What happens on the ward? What’s the daily routine?
  • What kind of therapeutic / meaningful activities are offered?
  • Information to help dispel myths, rumours and fears about mental health wards.
  • Information on the different kinds of observations
  • Advice on how to make the best of admission
  • Ways to resolve / avoid problems on the ward

Mental health

  • Common Mental Health Problems
  • Mental Health Wellbeing
  • What to do in an emergency
  • If you are experiencing mental health problems for the first time
  • Medications information
  • Service user information leaflets
  • Learning Disabilities Resources


  • Regular video clips and podcasts.
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Events eg World Mental Health Day
  • What’s New
  • Useful links
  • Creative arts including examples (or a gallery) of patient art

Patient and carer involvement

  • Involving service users
  • Carers, families and friends
  • Patient and Public Experience

Other services and resources

  • PALS – Patient Advice and Liaison Service
  • Find local groups, advocacy or support services
  • Health support services in the community

Video Introduction to the Ward

Why not include on the site an upbeat video introduction to the ward which demonstrates how proud you are of your achievements, your confidence about the excellence of practices, and optimistic about each new patient’s prospects? Of course, this video could be a stand-alone resource playable via DVD.

A video isn’t a replacement or substitute for providing a face-to-face introduction to the ward. Rather, it would enhance what you already do and reduce time away from other important activities. It also reduces errors and repetition.

Advantages of a video introduction:

  • Presenting the ward in an upbeat, fresh and positive way
  • Accessibly providing important information
  • Showcasing what’s on offer
  • Introducing the team
  • Giving a great first impression
  • Describing and pointing out facilities
  • Conveying your philosophy / mission statement / vision
  • It also avoids staff having to constantly repeat themselves
  • Prevents variations in content and tone among different staff
  • When the ward is extra busy or chaotic, staff may seem stressed or rushed when showing a new patient around
  • Releases time to care

What’s also great is that patients can replay the video whenever they wish. This is particularly helpful because  there can often be an overwhelming amount of information to take in when entering the ward for the first time. Patients being able to view the video at their own pace as and when, can help people with English as a second language, who could also watch it with an interpreter or, if they’re comfortable with this, when friends or family visit.

Making, and updating, a ward video is potentially a fabulous creative project for patients, whether with OTs, tech-confident HCAs or a local video company or club.

For inspiration, why not do a web search for hotel introduction videos. Although these are usually solely promotional (and cheesy) in nature, they’ll give you some ideas and a bit of a format to use.

Your video can be reviewed and updated as and when required. New information and changes will need to be added in appropriately.

The video could include

  • Generally setting tone – making person feel welcome, safe
  • Visuals of ward
  • A guided tour of the ward – rooms, garden etc
  • What happens on the ward? What’s the daily routine?
  • Resources and facilities
  • What to expect
  • Your ward’s personal style / identity portrayed
  • How to identify different types of staff, i.e different coloured uniforms etc
  • Services offered
  • Activity programme
  • Tips and hints
  • Information from patients’ welcome leaflet/pack e.g. times, people, “rules”…
  • Short ‘vox pops’, comments and advice from previous patients. (Of course, permission will need to be granted to film patients, following your Trust’s policies)
  • Quick interview snippets with staff members

Ideas for getting videos made by others

  • Video maker among or known by staff team, including non-clinical Trust staff
  • Patients, ex-patients, patients’ contacts including local service user groups
  • Visitors (how about advertising/requesting this on ward noticeboards?)
  • Contacting your local college with film course
  • Asking comms team for advice and help

You’ll need:

  • Digital camera or Video camera
  • PC running basic video editing software (most versions of Windows come with Windows Movie Maker.)

Same idea, different medium or methods

Does a video sound too impossible to produce? Well how about producing one of the following to help introduce the ward:

  • PowerPoint presentation (and there’s nifty software that can convert PowerPoint to video)
  • Photo album
  • Photo collage on DVD
  • Wall display
  • Virtual tour – like Sussex Partnership’s impressive innovation below


Free website builders

There’s loads of free site builders out there, eg: Weebly Buddy’s website and Bright’s mentalising website use Weebly and it’s easy enough for Marion to use so that’s a strong endorsement!

Categories: Neighbours, Wardipedia