Star Wards’ Newsletter #12

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Welcome to the latest newsletter and a warm welcome to the new members of the network, including wards in Bowmere Hospital, Cheshire and Wirral, who feature in this fortnight’s newsletter. Wotton Lawn Hospital, just a few of whose best practice examples were included last time, is a hard act to follow. But Bowmere’s imaginative and ambitious approach to providing excellent, empowering services for patients is dazzling. I’m reproducing the replies to my email, from Colin Jones, Modern Matron at Bowmere – with his permission, of course.


News from trusts – well, specifically from Bowmere

Computers and Internet.

We are awaiting installation of two terminals. One will be in our cafe area “The Oasis” which will work on an internet cafe style. We are working with our IT department as to accessible sites. This issue was raised at last month’s service user group and they understood potential difficulties . We agreed we work on a list with IT and feedback at next months meeting. The second terminal we hope to place in our reception area and this will be used as an information what’s on type resource. Again we are working with IT. Meanwhile the wards have internet access and service users can and do access the internet for specific queries with staff.

Learning Resource Centre

The Learning Resource Centre is based in Upton Lea building adjacent to Bowmere Hospital. It was grant funded with British Telecom a number of years ago for service user and staff usage. The centre is equipped with about 12 terminals and is linked with Chester College of FE and is staffed by our trust. Its all things to do with computers ranging from basic to advance course eg ECDL. Service users use IT on an individual basis and Occ Therapy have set sessions there on a weekly basis.

Activities Group

The activities club is held Tuesday and Friday 6pm – 8 pm and Sat, Sun 2-4pm. It is held in our Gymnasium which is again adjacent to the hospital. Refreshments are available, board games, pool, table tennis and in the summer months bowls on green just outside. Past and present service users run the club on a rota basis as volunteers and are supported by an activities co-ordinator and staff accompanying service users from the

wards. We appreciate that not all service users either want or are able to attend, so we have built up our volunteer base so we can do more ward based activities. This includes weekly card making sessions, a film club, bingo board games and an idea “stolen” from Star Wards – a visitor for the visitorless. I am awaiting clearance to start three more vols in the next couple of weeks. One is interested in gardening, another to visit the visitorless and a third to accompany the catholic chaplain for the Wednesday afternoon service and encourage those who may wish to attend.

Automated Dispensing.

I was interested in reading in one of your newsletters your views on medication dispensing. This idea was based on service users self dispensing. We looked at a number of possibilities as you have discussed. The automated version is currently available in some general hospitals. We looked at adapting the system. Simply it is a machine stocked with individual service users’ medication which is pre packed on a dose by dose method. It is computerised and time set. A code is inserted and the meds are released and given to the person.  In trials it is suggested that medication time is reduced from 3 mins to 30 secs per service user. Initially we intend to administer the meds by nurse but there is scope for self medicating. We are still awaiting installation as we speak.

Rapid Tranquillisation

Service users writing their experiences is something new to us and has been incorporated in the RT Policy. Following RT and when able service users are asked if they wish to comment on the experience.

Chester University

The majority of our post registration training is with Chester. They also provide pre reg training as well. In Chester we have strong links with them as well in the development of our Practice Development Research Unit. Note from Marion – Among the Star Wards’ related objectives that Bowmere has set itself, there’s the intriguing idea ‘To explore potential involvement of Art Department at University’. I need to ask Colin more about this!


Wow! Really brilliant. Please do let me know about similar (or totally different!) initiatives on your wards.

All the best