19 Jun

Download Star Wards

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


Star Wards supporters used 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.

Sometimes it was huge things, like transforming a ward with low morale and high aggression into one that increased safety is both a result and illustration of the new culture of constructive patient engagement and staff satisfaction. Sometimes it was small,  just a brief, warm exchange between a patient and nurse, capturing the mutual respect and trust which characterises so much inpatient care. But small things mean a big deal if you are a patient.

Over the 16 years it was a charity, Star Wards helped to create higher patient and staff satisfaction, better relationships, more activities and lower rates of aggression and violence. We are heartened that our resources are still of use to the benefit of thousands of patients, staff and visitors.

Free Downloads To Get You Started

Working on a ward is a tough gig. All our resources are designed to be ‘pick up and go’, with teams using them in whatever way is most helpful to (or possible for) them. Many people have used our portfolio of 75 practical ideas to validate their existing good practice and to inspire further development. If you look at the ideas and say “we already do that” – then brilliant!

People use Star Wards ideas as action planning or benchmarking exercises. Many wards start by looking at the 75 Ideas and get a lot of satisfaction from ticking off those ideas which are already in place. This invariably provides a real uplift as staff see how much of the great practice they take for granted are listed in the ideas.

It’s clear, the single most crucial element in enabling a warmly therapeutic experience for patients is staff morale. Our approach is based on genuine appreciation for the heroic work of staff (and the fortitude and adaptability of patients), discovering what works well and sharing this with wards in a way that inspires others to introduce these or similar practices. One of the main benefits of using Star Wards resources is to enable staff to feel confident about their professional skills and personal qualities. As one nurse put it:

“Thank you for coming up with such a brilliantly simple but totally inclusive idea that really has given us a springboard and confidence to go forward with our own ideas and trust our creativity.”

We worked closely with staff  and patients to find out what would help, and then to create resources to provide information and inspiration. A member of staff once said:

“I think this has changed staff attitudes as well, people feel positive and its like everybody has a role now. Its great, I love it.”

The Star Wards publications (download links below) are packed full of inspirational therapeutic practice examples that can be easily introduced and adapted. Many features of ward life are covered, including ideas for:

  • Recreation and conversation
  • Physical health and activity
  • Visitors
  • Care planning
  • Talking therapies and self-management
  • Ward community
  • Patient responsibility


Star Wards Booklet (First edition)

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Star Wards Booklet (Second edition)

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‘Tweaking, Turning, Transforming’ 75 Ideas Chart and Checklist

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75 Ideas Benchmarking Sheet

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What’s Inside?

Star Wards 1

Contents include:

  • In-patients’ current experience of how their days are spent
  • Psychology on the wards
  • The evidence base for the Star Wards’ ideas
  • Making Mental Health Wards Great Places to Work – Henry Stewart
  • Improving Patient-Centred Care: 10 Customer Service Tips – Phil Dourado
  • Star Wards’ 75 ideas
  • Achieving change

Star Wards 2

Contents include:

  • Creating a Star Ward
  • 75 ideas: at a glance guide
  • Features on:
    • Mutual support
    • Creating therapeutic and safe environments
    • Self-medication
    • Arts for health
  • Best practice in:
    • Recreation and conversation
    • Physical health, activity and well-being
    • Visitors, volunteers and carers. (And pets)
    • Care planning
    • Talking therapies and self-management
    • Ward community
    • Patient responsibility
  • Activities’ list



Click here to read about how to get patients involved in your Star Wards project.