between staff and patients heralded as way to improve psychiatric
by Mike George
morning meetings between staff and patients have been heralded as
one way to make psychiatric wards more satisfactory environments
in which to work.
Details of the initiative at the Meadowfield unit, in Worthing,
Sussex, are contained in a report by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental
The unit's staff and patients meet daily to plan activities to both
suit patients and use the skills of staff on duty.
Unit is run by West Sussex Health and Social Care NHS Trust.
The SCMH report also includes details of a ward round code of practice
developed by Mersey Care NHS Trust's Broadoak unit in Liverpool.
The code aims to ensure ward rounds are less intimidating for patients.
The report, entitled Search for Acute Solutions, is based on three
years’ work in four acute psychiatric units in England.
Each unit worked with SCMH workers to try and change how wards were
organised, the care that was offered and the activities available.
Search for Acute Solutions project manager Tina Braithwaite said:
"Our experience of working with our partner sites is that much
can be done if the right support and encouragement is given to staff.
The involvement of service users is crucial together with organisation-wide
commitment including from managers and community teams.
"Where people are prepared to take risks, think differently
and embrace change, a lot can be achieved. The challenge now is
to continue to change the way acute care is delivered and make it
a better experience for staff and service users across the country.”
The Sainsbury Centre's chief executive, Angela Greatley, said: “Acute
inpatient mental health services have been much criticised in recent
years. Many wards struggle with staff shortages and high bed occupancy.
They have an increasingly uncertain role in a mental health system
characterised by a range of community teams and services.
future of acute mental health in open to debate. But whatever happens
long-term, we should never accept the poor state of many wards today.”
for Acute Solutions (£10)
12, 2006: Half of psychiatric in-patient wards full, report says
- Mental Health Act Commission also states wards are understaffed
and have unpleasant environments
21, 2005: Mental health nurses and patients head bids to improve
wards - funds allocated to spruce up corridors, waiting areas
and wards, and to construct gardens and "quiet spaces"
Dec 7, 2005:
Every female patient in study of mixed-sex psychiatric wards reported
abuse, study claims - University of London researchers questioned
staff and patients in 16 medium secure units
June 6, 2005:
Our acute problem - Want to end the culture of violence on inpatient
psychiatric wards? Then set up more non-medical alternatives to
hospital care, argues Rufus May
to state the obvious'
Phil Barker, Professor of Health Science, Trinity College, Dublin,
March 20, 2006
I intend no disrespect to the SCMH but do we really need the chief
executive to tell us how difficult is the work of care-face staff,
and do we really need "three years work in four acute units"
to tell us that organising an early morning meeting to plan the
activity of the day is a good thing. This was comon practice in
my old 'asylum days' almost 40 years ago.
is more important is that the SCMH has spent several years running
around the country, documenting 'problems' which it now professes
to fix. I am aware of a huge number of (unpublicised and underfunded)
people who are developing good quality acute care settings, with
no help from the SCMH or anyone else. Why do we never hear about
them? Probably because they are just getting on with job and not
trying to attract publicity (and funding) for stating the obvious.
do you think? Email your comments on the above
article to the editor using the form below. Selected comments will
© 2001-7 Psychminded Limited. All
about this article