Trusts support people to use tools to improve services

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By Geoff Brennan, Chief Executive Bright

To be honest, much as we love them, Star Wards, CAMHeleon and Safewards are just tools. Shiny and lovely and suited for their purpose, but just tools. A hammer never built a house. A chisel never carved a statue. A saucepan never cooked a meal. People do those things. Tools are nothing without a craftsperson

Take the Talk 1st programme up in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust. A programme of locally driven improvement based on a synthesis of ideas from Star Wards and Safewards. Wards on the Talk 1st programme commit to using the tools to transform their ward improvements. Wards are supported by a team of senior and influential staff and Experts by Experience whose role is to challenge and support and celebrate. Last year we gave 18 of their wards Full Monty’s for transforming their services using our tools. Each Monty looks exactly the same – but the wards have created a unique signature of improvement for each of their communities. Older adult wards have designed bespoke wallpaper making the ward more homely and less clinical. Learning Disabilities Wards have been making interventions accessible for their clientsthrough images rather than words. There are pizza nights and pat dogs, special celebrations and physical exercise, there is pride and there is passion. We have numerous blogs telling the stories and posting the pictures. Oh yes, and there are less incidents of harm on the wards.

People in Greater Manchester NHS Foundation Trust also have a network of local improvement originally driven by Safewards leads. The improvement has the full buy in and support of senior managers. Again, wards have created and sustained a ripple of local change that result in baking days, fun and funky artwork, weekend activities, patients helping each other and much more. How about a “feel the beat group”, after which a participant said:

“This has been so healing for me. It’s the most therapeutic thing I’ve experienced since being here. The sounds and rhythms have relieved my anxiety and I feel calm for the first time in ages”

A group with music- human, fun and, it would seem, very therapeutic. And guess what? Manchester say they have less harm on the wards as well.

On Friday the 8th of March, NHS Improvement published a brilliant report brilliant report that highlights how great Trusts support people to use tools like ours to improve local services. Its full of great suggestions and very cool models. If you are a senior leader in healthcare, it is a template to progress. If you are not, do them a favour and let them know about it.

And then, if you are interested, come and help yourself to our tools. They are just waiting for you.

 

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You might be wondering – what difference does Star Wards actually make to mental health wards? It’s a question we continuously ask ourselves, to make sure that we are having a positive impact. Well, we have over 800 wards signed up to receive our resources and, in the past, we have had Star Wards independently evaluated. A micro-summary of what our users have said is that wards who tried Star Wards ideas had:

This is not about us, it is about people like you. These improvements are down to your hard work. And you can check our newsletters for wards doing amazing things right now. So we are told we do help you make a difference – and we want to get better and be here to help you in the future. So, join up, join in and let us know your wonderful ideas – and if you can donate to us or fundraise for us, we would be delighted to hear from you. Thank you for all you do.