Wardipedia – 68. Talking therapies

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Beyond CBT…. Introduction Talking therapies, psychologically minded staff, mentalising… all as essential as medication on inpatient wards. (And usually without the nasty side-effects often inflicted by medication.) A patient may be  continuing with their pre-hospital therapy or experiencing psychotherapeutic  relief, challenges and changes for the first time. Medication does wonders in knocking some symptoms on […]

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Wardipedia – 12. Mindfulness and silence

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  Introduction Restful, simple, clean, clear, full of possibilities. Devoid of anything nasty or painful because it’s pure space. Pure space, mindfulness, silence, meditation, yoga have become very trendy. And being an  inpatient is a great opportunity to learn and practice these extraordinarily effective ways of not just quieting the mind at that moment, but […]

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Wardipedia – 69. Therapeutic interior design

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Easy on the eye, warm in the heart Introduction Some of the best practice we’ve seen has been in some of the worst designed environments we’ve seen. But, the staff  have to put vast effort into counter-acting the safety, social and therapeutic impact of inappropriate environments. Hospitals burdened by old buildings (even the 1970s produced […]

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Wardipedia – 11. Peer supporters

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He ain’t heavy Introduction What’s one of the best kinds of therapy for aiding recovery from mental health problems? We think it’s peer support. Peer supporters provide a first-hand insight into the impact of the issues patients experience. Drawing on their own experience they can provide reassurance and support and point to light at the […]

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Wardipedia – 10. Creative communicating

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It’s all improv. Introduction It’s sometimes difficult enough to have conversations with patients when they’re in a relatively good mental state. It can feel overwhelmingly daunting to connect with people who have additional communication difficulties, whether through cognitive impairment (eg dementia or learning disability) or overwhelming emotional states (eg paranoia). Creative communicating makes best use […]

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Wardipedia – 09. Engagement is the thing

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Time well spent Introduction More and more wards are moving away from the traditional, very passive (and generally disliked by patients!) practice of ‘observing’ patients as a primary way of trying to keep the ward safe. They feel that using the term and perfecting the practice of ‘engaging’ with patients is much more constructive, and […]

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Wardipedia – 08. Community meetings

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A meeting of minds Introduction Focus group, customer service forum, group therapy, democratic community meeting, therapeutic community meeting, trade/student union meeting. Meetings don’t come more complex than ward community meetings! The variety of names reflects both the multiple aims and also, perhaps, ambiguity about their purpose and value – eg therapeutic community meetings, ward  meetings, […]

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Wardipedia – 07. Mentalising

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Mind awareness Introduction We love the concept of ‘mentalising’. OK, not the name itself which is a bit naff but does have the soundest of origins in psychoanalytic and attachment theories. Mentalising simply means being aware of what’s going on in our own minds and in other people’s minds. Mainly thoughts and feelings, but of […]

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Wardipedia – 70. Comfort objects

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Touchy feely Introduction Cuddly toys, snuggly blankets, toys, photos, ornaments, clothing (eg fluffy dressing gowns), pillows…. Certain objects soothe, reassure and comfort us. They provide an emotional anchor to ‘feel good’ memories or associations, making us feel a little bit better in the here and now. Some of the classic features include soft, tactile, or […]

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Wardipedia – 71. Housekeeping heroes

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Making hospital hospitable Introduction The ward environment and services are major influences on the quality of inpatients’ stay. In appreciation of this, the Government has supported the introduction of ward housekeepers in mental health hospitals. Housekeepers, cleaners, domestic and catering staff are the unsung heroes of inpatient wards. They’re principally focused on the needs of […]

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