People with mental health problems such as anxiety and dementia will receive better care when they go to hospital thanks to two new schemes officially launched at a special event.
Porters and catering staff unveiled a set of standards that will help improve patient’s experience of hospital. The standards have been developed with the Standard 4 team – a partnership project between South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust, North Kirklees PCT, Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust and Social Services.
The standards list simple, practical ways that porters and catering staff can massively improve a patient’s time in hospital and help them feel at ease.
Kath Williams, Standard Four team leader explains; "All the standards have been developed by porters and catering staff with support from the team. Everyone has been fantastic and really embraced the idea.
"The standards include things like porters and catering staff introducing themselves to patients by name, establishing a rapport, giving patient’s a choice of food at meal times and porters telling patients where they are taking them and how long it will take. We’ve also introduced training opportunities to help porters and catering staff with things they have said they need help with such as communicating with older people."
‘Pocket cards’ containing information on common mental health problems that nurses can quickly and easily refer to, were also launched by the team and will be distributed at the end of the month.
Kath continues, "The idea for the pocket cards came from nurses at Dewsbury hospital and are designed to give busy staff a quick reference guide to help them when caring for people with mental health problems. In big hospitals like this the focus is on physical health, but it’s important that a patient’s mental health is looked after too."
The initiatives were launched by the Standard 4 team – who recently won a prestigious Nursing Times award – at an event to mark the end of their two year project.
During this time the team have introduced ‘dementia care mapping’– making Dewsbury Hospital the only acute hospital to use the approach. Dementia care mapping involves sitting in the care setting and observing how patients react to the care that is given to them. The results are fed back to ward staff so action plans can be made and the team can develop.
Kath says, "The project was originally focused on wards for older people but we have had so much interest from other areas of the hospital e.g. A&E, surgery, stroke, rehabilitation and orthopaedics we spread the project further. Now there are 26 ‘mappers’ who work in every area of the hospital sharing skills and helping staff to look at how they care for older people."
The project has led to many developments at the hospital including staff training on mental health issues and the introduction of activities for older people. Kath continues, "It seems like the changes to practice that have taken place since the project began have been little things, but it’s these little things that mean the world to each patient."
The event was attended by staff from the four partner organisations, and all those involved in the project; ward staff, carers and ‘mappers’.