The Beaumont Unit at St Luke’s Hospital in Huddersfield is implementing a special initiative called ‘Star Wards’ into the day-to-day care it provides for people who use the service. Star Wards is a unique handbook crammed full of practical ideas for improving the daily experiences and treatment outcomes of mental health in-patients. The handbook was put together by people who have experience of mental illness and aims to inspire staff and help them find new ways of working.
The Star Wards initiative is already being used by other units across the Trust including Trinity 2 at Fieldhead in Wakefield and ward 18 at Dewsbury and District Hospital. Elmdale at The Dales is also looking at utilising the programme, and has already responded to one of the Star Wards recommendations by putting a timetable of activities in place, across every day of the week.
The Beaumont Unit has several initiatives in place that reflect recommendations set out in the ‘Star Wards’ programme. For example;
- Weekly community meetings are held for people staying at the unit to have a say on the general running of the ward and make special requests for activities.
- There is an activities coordinator working at the unit who has introduced a core programme of daily activities, encouraging people to participate in meaningful activity. There is also a separate men’s and women’s group for activities.
- A successful bid was made to charitable funds to pay for a Nintendo Wii, musical instruments, board games, DVD’s, a stereo and a dance mat, all of which are now being used and enjoyed by people on the ward.
- A walking group is in place to encourage people on the ward to get out and about for a sociable stroll around the hospital grounds. Staff are working on making the walks more regular.
And it doesn’t stop there; the unit is also now looking at inviting PAT (Pets as Therapy) animals onto the ward to offer people who use the service comfort, companionship and therapy. A mini library is also being considered to improve access to patient information. Both these ideas were taken from the Star Wards booklet.
Ward manager Melissa Harvey says, ‘We’re all thinking outside the box now and realising that there are things that can be changed, however small, to make a big difference to the quality of life of people on our ward.’