The Involvement Star is about helping inpatients to have a therapeutic, empowering, admission which equips them appropriately for maintaining their health and well-being when they’re back home. Crucial ingredients here are: support, information, inclusion, influence, independence and communication. And of course, communication is a two-way process: giving and receiving. Information (being in the picture) and involvement helps to build self-confidence; as well as contributing to better, more tailored services for the individual and others. (And of course it’s increasingly seen as a requirement by regulators and commissioners and as a human right.)
“I encourage patients to start a Personal Recovery File while they’re on the ward. It’s a good centralised place to collect information, journal notes, store artwork, recovery plans, care plans, postcards, letters and so on. It’s about giving them a chance to play an active part in their care. If they want to, they can show these things to staff but there’s no pressure for them to do so.”
HCAs have developed imaginative and effective ways of enabling patients to have as much say as possible about how they spend their time, what treatments they receive and how services evolve. Staff find creative ways of establishing people’s preferences, often with the help of friends and relatives, and of supporting individuals to be as independent and influential as their health and the constraints of ward life allow.
The Involvement Star acknowledges the times when HCAs help involve patients in planning their care and use care plans as a therapeutic tool to engage them and aid their recovery. Helping to enhance patients’ independence and fostering self-determination is key here, as is encouraging them to make informed choices, and where possible influence their own care.
Patients have compiled a ‘Day in the Life’ guide for new clients, giving a sense of different aspects of life in the hospital.
Helping other parts of the staff team be fully involved is really important too. For example, helping bank and agency staff feel part of the team and providing them with a thorough understanding of each patient. There’s often a constant flow of new faces on the ward which can be unsettling for patients. Introducing each patient to these staff members puts everyone’s mind at rest and helps everyone feel part of things.
The Involvement Star reflects how you assist patients with managing their mental health issues. For example, this may involve supporting patients to complete an Advance Directive, or providing information about their condition or treatment. Some patients may especially value being supported to look after themselves – with things like taking care of their physical health, keeping clean, attending to their appearance, being able to cope with anxiety and knowing how to look after their well-being. One patient reflects: “Working with the staff on my care plan made me feel like I was taking an active part in my recovery and that my views were valued.”
A few other examples of how ward staff support patients’ independence, involvement and influence include: asking for and collecting feedback and views, running regular community meetings, helping patients manage their medication (including providing information
“For me patient involvement goes without saying. We don’t need some special policy for that. How would we know if what we are doing is right unless patients have their say and get involved? At the end of the day the ward exists for them. I’m not a qualified nurse but I know that there are countless opportunities throughout the shift where I can encourage patients to get involved in their care and therefore feel better as a consequence” – Paul, HCA
- Patients are supported to be co-pilots in their care, creating a more therapeutic, empowering, admission
- Patients feel respected, skilled, contributors
- Therapeutic interventions are more relevant and effective for the individual
- Useful, supportive and important information is accessible and available
- The ward is experienced as an inclusive environment
- Patients feel equipped and prepared appropriately for maintaining their health and well-being when they’re back home