Enabling mothers during inpatient stays


A stay on a mental health ward can be a stressful and disruptive time for both service users and their families. A team of our occupational therapists (OTs) wanted to show how occupational therapy can support mothers and families during their time on a ward.

Occupational therapists help people gain an understanding of how their mental health difficulties may be impacting on their ability to perform activities and roles that are meaningful to them.

So, the team worked with mothers on the ward to empower them to maintain their parental role, develop positive coping strategies and prepare for when they are discharged.

The team use a variety of activities to encourage families to spend time together and make their inpatient stay a positive experience, creating an environment that instils hope and promotes a recovery focus. Examples of meaningful activities that promote positive family time and that could be replicated at home include baking, completing art projects, planning play sessions and setting goals to re-establish family routines.

In addition, the team provide information to families and introduce them to community groups and organisations which could help them further.

Rebecca Purvis, an occupational therapist who presented an overview of the team’s work at the College of Occupational Therapists’ 40th annual conference in June, said: “Carrying out this work with mothers ensures that mothers feel valued, empowered and feel like their needs have been listened to.

“We have received very positive feedback from mums that their health and wellbeing has improved as a result of occupational therapy interventions.”

Enabling mothers during inpatient stays

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