Staff at a mental health inpatient ward at St Luke’s Hospital in Huddersfield, are implementing an initiative to help improve the daily experiences of people in their care. The initiative, called ‘Star Wards’ is a unique handbook put together by people who have experience of mental illness that is full of practical ideas to help staff boost the morale and overall wellbeing of people staying on the ward.
The Beaumont Unit, which is run by South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust has several ideas 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.
• People on the ward have access to a Nintendo Wii, musical instruments, board games, DVD’s, a stereo and a dance mat, all of which were paid for by charitable funds given to the Trust.
More…. • 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.
The unit is now looking at putting more Star Wards ideas into practice, including inviting PAT (Pets as Therapy) animals onto the ward to offer people receiving treatment comfort, companionship and therapy. A mini library is also being considered to give patients better access to information that is relevant to them.
Ward manager Melissa Harvey said, "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. It is important for everyone to take part in activities that are enjoyable and meaningful as a way of boosting their wellbeing. For people receiving treatment on our ward it is no different and the Star Wards booklet has been inspirational in helping us find new and creative ways of engaging them."