By Wendy Hughes, Assistant Practitioner Physiotherapy Inpatient Services, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
I deliver as part of my role as Physiotherapy Assistant Practitioner a Rise and Shine session every morning on the Older Persons wards which can be chair exercise to movement with a soft ball. I always deliver these sessions to music as the patients really key into this.
One of the key events on the calendar is National Dementia awareness week which Physiotherapy along with ward staff always aim to do some sort of event for the patients and their families. When planning any of the events I always try and put myself in the patients shoes, what do they like, what did they like to do, how can I make this enjoyable for the patient and their loved ones …I gather all this information from the formulation meetings we have on the wards, and by speaking to the ward staff, patients and their families. This year keying into the music we had the idea of having a pub themed event where we turned Woodhorn Ward into the “Woodhorn Arms pub” complete with bar, beer tokens ( for non-alcoholic drinks) snacks and a “pub singer” Patients were involved throughout the planning of the event by making the invitations and the crest for the bar.
The purpose of the events are to allow the patients / families to enjoy a sociable afternoon engaging through music, hopefully bringing back treasured memories. Music, movement and touch are components that key into a memory. By encouraging singing and dancing we turned the afternoon into activity, which helps maintain range of movement and mobility/ balance and coordination. Participation even in a sitting position, just a tapping of the feet can shift mood and provide positive interaction. The social component gave emotional and physical closeness achieving positive effects afterwards.
We received lots of positive feedback from the families’ that attended the event such as…
“These few hours I have spent with my husband have been amazing it has allowed me to forget about my husband’s Dementia and allow us to enjoy ourselves even if it is for only a few hours “
“I have not been able to dance with husband in years and today I got to dance with him again”
“It has been really reassuring to see my mum looking so happy and smiling, it’s like seeing my old mum back “
“I wish we could do this every week “
We have to agree with that judging by the positive effects afterwards, our aim would be to deliver an event like this every month. For our Star Wards award we decided as the previous event had such a positive effect on our patients that we would have another “Pub themed” afternoon which again proved to be a huge success for all.
Ward Manager Jacqui Robinson reported:
“This is fab and I would agree with it following the success for the initial pub afternoon the bar is being put to good use and staff are enthused to get this out for other more spontaneous occasions such as the world cup games etc, this has all stemmed from the original pub afternoon and the value staff and patients have put on this which people are making the effort to replicate on a more regular basis, Wendy Your enthusiasm is infectious and I think it is catching!”
Throughout the year there are various events that Physiotherapy and the ward promote ie..Parkinson’s Day/ Falls week/ Older Persons Day The next event is the NHS 70th Birthday. For this I am in the process of planning a week of activities for both our older people’s wards –functional and organic. Ideas range from a 70 s afternoon of singing and dancing (with maybe a little fancy dress thrown in !! ) pedometers’ aiming to complete at least 70 steps in a day/hour/ over 7 days, a quiz of 70 questions around the NHS/Birthdays/world events and some indoor and outdoor activities-quoits/croquet/target practice all again with the 70 theme
OCTOBER – sees The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) older persons Day. Traditionally we do events on both wards however this year we have booked the Kiff Kaff a bigger room to allow us to bring together both of the older persons wards. Although this is a specific CSP event all nursing staff/ward managers and Activity Coordinators and OT’s from both wards have lots of input ensuring it is a multi-disciplinary event. Theme yet to be confirmed however we plan it to be a fun filled day with singing, dancing, quiz, games, exercise ensuring our patients are working the body and the mind but most importantly having FUN!!! CHEERS!!