SW Newsletter #24

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Oct 20th 2007


Welcome to the latest newsletter and a warm welcome to the new members of the Star Wards’ community. This fortnight’s edition is all about the superb services I saw in Derbyshire, thanks to Sue Stocks, Associate Director of Nursing. I got  a very representative feel for the care, attention to detail and individualised experiences of patients, when Sue turned up at the train station with a cup of coffee for me! Sue offered to have her contact details in the newsletter, which is an excellent idea and will now always be a feature. Er, not Sue’s each time, although she’s so full of creative approaches, many of them from outside the health sector, that this would definitely be handy. So just for this edition:   [email protected]

Derbyshire Mental Health Services

Partnerships – internal and external

  • “The things that make the most difference aren’t necessarily the things that cost the most money.” eg working in new ways with colleagues we don’t traditionally work with. Clinical and non-clinical-partnerships. Estates and facilities department, housekeeping, maintenance, joinery, engineering.
  • Derbyshire Coalition for Inclusive Living support patients with Direct Payments.
  • CAB clinics on ward.
  • Rethink will be redeveloping garden. Beautiful courtyard. Lovely shrubs and trees, leading off from day space and café. Volunteers are mainly service users and carers. When I was in the garden was impressed to see patient doing gardening – even clearing up fag butts!
  • Partnership with Rethink – ex service users mentoring patients to support them when they leave. Rethink has gardening project in community.
  • Busy Bites café run by Shaw Trust. Open 10-3.30. Café generates income which could be used for service user volunteers.

Time-efficient working

  • Lean processes – if introduce new paperwork, take something away. Nurses were doing huge amount of paperwork. Developed new role of ward administrator. Will take away lots of admin from nurses.
  • Employ linen services to put it away rather than nurses doing it.

Serve to Care professional development programme

  • Change management, finance, political awareness. Action Learning Set, enhancing skills. Developing action plans, eg protected time, ward evaluation tool. Simple but important questions – eg Did anyone smile at you today? Facilitated session – AM, what they’ve changed in their practice since previous month. Then a topic which they’d have read up about, having been provided with the books. External and internal facilitators.
  • Each ward sister has a Trust board mentor, generally see monthly. Chief executive is also a mentor. Get different perspective, from government, through strategic health authority. Board now getting much more immediate feedback about patient experience. Looking at accreditation with RCN.

Excellence in physical environment

  • Music in unit reception area! Lovely. Very welcoming.
  • Ward signs – instead of dull, standard NHS ones, there’s lively, attractive font chosen by patients painted above doors. Beautiful white light in ward using new technology, and get as much natural light as possible into corridors. Challenging estates’ department – not prescription flooring or magnolia paint. Lovely colours on walls and seating. Nursing assistant is talented photographer and ward is decorated with beautiful water-themed photos.
  • Sanctuary – relaxation room. Window has one of the water photos transposed on it. Will be a blind for night with night-time version of photo! Ceiling has fiber optic lights, which change colours gently. sounds and visuals can be personalised. Impact of colour. Plasma screen TV for relaxation DVDs etc. Wall includes glass brick cubes.
  • Conservatory for family visiting room. Lots of big plastic toys, donated by League of Friends. Discount from Early Learning Centre. Room gets booked, partly to monitor kids visiting. Nurse will usually sit outside to make safe. 300 – 400 kids a month!! Nappy change facilities in loo next to family room. Also next to Jackie’s Pantry. Now being included in all new builds.


  • Medication rounds. Quiet room with easy chair, patients come in one at a time. Chance to talk to patient at start of day.
  • Concordance training, including motivational interviewing. Service user designed bookmark with motivational rhyme! Pharmacy technicians support to wards. Saves a lot of ward staff time -ordering, checking, arranging pharmacist to talk to patents, and do training themselves. Refresher training very useful. On ward every day. Proposal to think about pharmacy technician to do drugs’ round with an unqualified staff member. Frees up qualified nurse time and better for patients who could access more experienced staff in relation to medication

Recreation and social

  • Recreation includes dance exercise, self-help group with local support group, Samba drumming. Also drop-in recreational groups.
  • Recreation worker has done resource pack for each ward with quizzes, origami, word searches. Plus one for self-help groups.
  • Conversation/thought starters on noticeboard:
    • On this day in history.
    • David’s quote of the day.
  • Women only group. Want to get in outside speakers. Discussions, manicure, music.
  • Team of the year award for smoking cessation. Wanted to avoid boredom, agitation etc. Gave patients list of potential activities – quiz night, DVD, lavender relaxation. Patients wrote and performed own play! Version of Taming of the Shrew!. Service user knew the play and designed ward production of it. Breaks down barriers between staff and patients.
  • Patients have chosen to have Beans on Toast night! Curry night – staff in saris.

Individualised care

  • Arrange for prayer mats. Fasting at Ramadan accommodated – access to meals out of hours. Microwavable meals, takeaways and family bring in.
  • Small toiletries’ bags are offered to patients on admission. Feels very hospitable and saves giving big bars of soap, and shampoo, so also saves money.
  • Gym, have trained 2 OTs. Clozaril weight gain. Personal plans for patients. GP referral scheme, linked up to GP practice for free yoga, exercise in community. GPs send reports on how discharged patients are doing.


  • OTs work across inpatient and Crisis services. Recruitment bonus, fabulous continuity for  service users, who may have had to tell their story up to 9 times. Trying to build it into front-end so can access everything from then. OT – used to be mainly recreational activities. 3 areas of focus now – self care, productivity, leisure. Enable people to participate in community.
  • OT works for up to 8 weeks post discharge. Satisfying for patients and staff.

An incredible range of inspired services and approaches. And almost all involve no extra cost and many are cost-saving as well as experience-enhancing. Fab.


All the best