Star Wards’ Newsletter #14

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Welcome to the latest newsletter and a warm welcome to the new members of the network. I won’t go on and on about the survey again, to leave lots of space for this fortnight’s featured hospital – Huntercombe in Roehampton. This is an independent hospital and the first one we’ve written up. There are clearly very different financial arrangements than in NHS hospitals, although interestingly all their patients are referred from the NHS. The most striking difference between Huntercombe and I think every NHS hospital we’re in touch with, is the extensive provision of individual and group psychotherapy. And not just CBT! Please do let me know if I’ve unwittingly overlooked the provision of talking therapies in your hospital.


News from trusts – Huntercombe Hospital, Roehampton

Andy Johnstone has sent me a pretty mind-blowing report on how the hospital is already implementing most of Star Wards’ 75 ideas. But it’s not at all complacent and seems keen to adapt the excellent practices in other hospitals described in previous newsletters. The report is much longer than our statutory 2 page newsletter limit, but it’s on our website. The hospital provides specialist programmes focused towards several conditions including people who are behaviourally disturbed, high-dependency, resistant to treatment, dual diagnosis or have personality disorders. What’s included below are those practices which haven’t been covered in previous newsletters.

1. Recreation and conversation

  • All patients currently have access to an extensive video library run by the therapy department.  However it is our aim in the near future to have the patients themselves run this service for the Hospital.
  • We aim to expand idea 2 by sourcing a volunteer beautician for the female ward and a volunteer yoga instructor for group sessions.
  • We are in the process of arranging formal advocate training for a volunteer who is an ex-patient.
  • All Bank staff are required to undertake the same 2-day induction programme that substantive staff complete.
  • The domestic staff, when less busy, spend a considerable amount of time on the ward talking to patients.  It is a common sight to see the domestic staff playing games of table tennis with patients on the wards or board games.
  • The Financial Administrator’s Assistant visits the wards to help patients manage and access their finances. The hospital manager makes regular visits to the wards for general discussions with patients and their relatives.
  • The Art Psychotherapist is looking into borrowing artwork from local galleries and libraries to display throughout the hospital.
  • We are hoping to facilitate cultural evenings where patients can prepare their traditional dish to share with other patients and staff.

2. Physical health and activity

  • The Therapy Department facilitate group and individual walking and jogging sessions in the local area and parks (with a therapy dog for company)!
  • The Sports Therapists and Occupational Therapists are all trained in basic Tai Chi skills and relaxation, which is offered individually or in groups.

3. Visitors

  • Overseas calls are facilitated by the hospital using the hospital phone.
  • Our Head of Therapies brings in her dog called ‘Keria’ which the patients take for walks and practice training techniques.  A proposal has just been written for the hospital to purchase a rabbit as an on site pet for patients to be responsible for. The patients have also started having horse riding lessons which has been very popular and a great mood lifter.

4. Care Planning

  • A five-day structure was recently agreed with the involvement of patients.  This involves using a different theme for each day of the week to talk about.
  • Patients have folders given to them for homework and handouts from therapy sessions, but the hospital is working on providing one folder to contain all the patients’ paperwork, including information on their diagnosis, Mental Health Act status, Therapy Department timetable and fitness plans. We will also include general information on drugs and alcohol and plain paper to encourage patients to journal their experiences.
  • Patients also have the opportunity to attend the Clinical Improvement Groups on each ward as a representative.

5. Talking therapies and self-management

  • The therapy department hold the full copy of Mind Leaflets for patients and these have been photocopied so they can be given away.  At present the staff are looking for a suitable place to display these leaflets so patients and visitors can help themselves.
  • Posters of Religious Festival dates are displayed on each ward, all patients are encouraged to celebrate these faiths, which are often demonstrated in the cooking sessions.  Birthday cakes are provided for patients and leaving parties are provided for.

7. Patient responsibility

  • None of our patients queue for medication.  Some of the patients having ‘dosset boxes’, which we keep, in the clinic room.
  • An independent advocacy service is available to all patients.
  • The Catering Department are running an initiative called ‘Just for You’ where the patients are invited to design a meal themselves and the catering department will cook it for them.
  • We would like to have patients participate in our hospital newsletter

All the best