Inspired to be the first Australia Full Monty

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By Melissa Angelone 

Earlier this year I had the absolute pleasure of visiting adult and older person’s mental health services based in Grimsby, Sunderland, and Newcastle upon Tyne.  After attending a conference in Australia where Geoff presented on the fantastic program that is Star Wards, and all the wonderful work being undertaken to support and engage consumers, I was both excited and inspired to visit the UK to view this wonderful program.

My journey began in Grimsby with Navigo where I attended Diana Princess of Wales Hospital and visited the older person’s organic and functional inpatient units.  The units had very proudly embraced Star Wards and their achievement of receiving the Full Monty award!Star Wards was very much front and centre throughout the units, this was evident through all the wonderful displays and information for consumers and visitors.  The stand out for me was definitely the incredible murals both inside and outside the units, such a fun way to orientate and liven up the area for not only the consumers, but for visitors and staff also.

I also attended Harrison House and spent time with the older person’s access community team, this was a thrill for me as I am an older person’s community clinician at heart so it was lovely to see how the service was provided on a different continent!

Also at Harrison house is the adult acute inpatient unit that I was also invited to spend some time at.  This unit had also embraced the principles of Star Wards and was seen to do a fantastic job at engaging consumers through very creative and meaningful activities, the highlight for me was definitely the paper amenities animals!

Following on from Grimsby, my journey continued on to Sunderland and Newcastle upon Tyne where I attended services within the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear region of the NHS Foundation Trust.  I began at Monkwearmouth hospital where I attended the campus of Aging and Vitality including Marsden, Roker, and Mowbray wards.  Marsden ward showcased some great examples of how they utilised the principle of “Talk first” with the use of a “chill chest” as one of the ways in which to engage consumers when they require support.  Roker and Mowbray wards are purpose built dementia care units that will significantly benefit and support care needs.  Star Wards once again shone through as a wonderful and meaningful program in which consumers can be engaged through a person centred approach.  I then attended Newcastle General hospital’s Campus for Aging and Vitality including the Akenside inpatient unit who I noted had also achieved a Full Monty!

Last but not least I attended St. George’s park and reviewed their adult and aged inpatient services, once gain it was so wonderful to see all the positive work being done to better consumer outcomes through such an engaging and wonderful program.

This was just merely a snap shot of the wonderful work being undertaken within these areas.  I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Geoff Brennan who kindly arranged this visit to occur.  I would also like to thank Ellie Walsh from Navigo and Marie Smith from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear region of the NHS Foundation Trust for going above and beyond to arrange all the opportunities I was given whilst attending their organisations.  I would also like to thank all the wonderful staff and consumers, thank you for welcoming and allowing me to become part of your world for those few days.  You should all be commended and incredibly proud for all the fantastic work that is being undertaken in your areas.  Seeing Star Wards being facilitated so well across so many sites and hearing stories of such wonderful outcomes for consumers has encouraged me to inspire our team to be the first in Australia to achieve the Full Monty!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a safe and wonderful 2019!


Melissa Angelone (RN)

Mental health nurse consultant

Melbourne, Australia

Categories: Blog