|Star Wards Action Network
Welcome to the latest issue of SWAN. Malcolm and I are in planning mode for the momentum meeting – the big get-together of all the pilot sites. It’s going to be an amazing day, with the sharing of excellence in practice from the most dynamic and effective wards in the country. The date is July 4th and we’re very grateful to Neil Carr and colleagues in Staffordshire for hosting the event. The accompanying email has suggested programme contents and we look forward to getting your feedback – and also offers of running particular sessions.
News from trusts
I was particularly pleased to be able to visit the mental health trust of the hospital (St Ann’s) where Star Wards was conceived, when I was a detained but soon very content inpatient. I ran a training session for 40 of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey MH Trust’s ward managers and was delighted that there’s so much good practice in the trust. One initiative which made me smile is… Medication with a Smile. Given the problematic relationship that many patients have with their medication (not me – can’t get enough of mine) I was curious about how this approach, and name, has gone down. Because the focus is on giving patients as much information and choice as possible, and eliminating the ghastly queuing for medication, it seems that patients are very positive about it.
Ideas in action
#32 Pets as visitors and residents
This is the suggestion that has, by far, raised the most interest. There are loads of big benefits of inpatients having contact with pets, beyond those gained by non-psychiatric patients, because of the specific impact of mental illness and the fact that mental health inpatients have longer average periods of hospitalistion. There are also none of the specific infection control issues of patients who are physically vulnerable. Benefits include:
THE LEGAL SITUATION
There isn’t one! The Health & Safety Executive say there’s no legislation preventing pets on wards. It all comes down to risk assessments. So – it’s a green light for pets on mental health wards! It would be really good to hear from you about your experiences, including obstacles you’ve faced and perhaps overcome.
All the best