By Nic Higham
Cleadon ward has been a member of Star Wards for two years but they never felt that they’d be in a position to apply for the full Monty award. That was until December 2017 when they benchmarked themselves against the 75 ideas. Cleadon, which is run by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, provides assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for older people with mental health problems due to functional disorders such as depression.
According to the Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE) programme, our living and working environments have a huge influence on our physical and mental well-being. In hospitals, the environment can boost recovery and has a strong impression on patients’ judgment of their care. It’s all about creating a setting which is appropriate and comfortable. Research confirms that a compassionate and friendly environment can have positive effects on both patients (and their visitors) and those who work within them. Cleadon is an excellent example of this, it’s a modern purpose-built setting with many visually attractive features. The ward features stunning artwork designed by award-winning designer Dan Savage which was created with staff and service users. On my visit to the ward, I enjoyed the welcoming and pleasant environment and was struck by the art installations, such as their “artwork windows” and the fabulous bespoke wallpapers depicting local landmarks.
Ward Manager Antony Buckley told me that the team thought long and hard about how to improve the service through Star Wards:
“Some little ideas have changed the way we deliver services. From establishing regular carer drop-ins and changing our visiting types, to being much more responsive to patients. We have introduced interns from a local college who attend the ward for thirty hours a week providing activities for the patients whilst gaining valuable experience in care work. The ward’s project also coincided with the introduction of a new Activity Coordinator which further rejuvenated morale and the provision of daily activities.
As the ward cares for older people with a functional frailty some of the activities were reviewed and we involved the patients and their carers as much as we could to ensure a wide and varied timetable. The needs of our patients vary quite significantly, so finding a range of activities suitable to suit everyone has always been a challenge. We simply did not want to have repetitive and boring activities.
When we first started looking at the 75, we were a little daunted at the thought of achieving the full Monty award. However, with perseverance, and through sharing good practice with other areas our confidence grew.
I am extremely proud of the hard work that all the team have put in and to now say with confidence that we meet the 75, and not forgetting the ideas given to us by patients and carers!”
Congratulations and well done, Cleadon!