19 Jun

Download Star Wards

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


Star Wards 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.

Sometimes it’s huge things, like transforming a ward with low morale and high aggression into one where significantly increased safety is both a result and illustration of the new culture of constructive patient engagement and staff satisfaction. Or it may be just a brief, warm exchange between a patient and nurse, capturing the mutual respect and trust which characterises so much inpatient care.

Since it launched 12 years ago, Star Wards has 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 being well used, 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 however is most helpful to (or possible for) them. The Star Wards community adopts and adapts our portfolio of 75 practical ideas to validate their existing good practice and to inspire further development. Members are using 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. All wards that manage to have all (relevant) 75 in place, often by creatively adapting the basic ideas, are eligible for our Full Monty Award.

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 contributions Star Wards makes 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 work closely with staff to find out what would help, and then to create resources to provide information and inspiration. A member of staff told us:

“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)


Star Wards 1 4.03 MB 3602 downloads


Star Wards Booklet (Second edition)


Star Wards 2 5.02 MB 905 downloads


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


Ward Ideas Chart 246.73 KB 959 downloads


75 Ideas Benchmarking Sheet


Benchmarking Sheet 667.04 KB 3998 downloads




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.



Click here to make a donation


You might be wondering – what difference does Star Wards actually make to mental health wards? It’s a question we continuously ask ourselves, to make sure that we are having a positive impact. Well, we have over 800 wards signed up to receive our resources and, in the past, we have had Star Wards independently evaluated. A micro-summary of what our users have said is that wards who tried Star Wards ideas had:

This is not about us, it is about people like you. These improvements are down to your hard work. And you can check our newsletters for wards doing amazing things right now. So we are told we do help you make a difference – and we want to get better and be here to help you in the future. So, join up, join in and let us know your wonderful ideas – and if you can donate to us or fundraise for us, we would be delighted to hear from you. Thank you for all you do.