10 October 2013

Safewards make a difference

Social media is being used to promote a new set of interventions to nurses which have been proved to reduce conflict within inpatient settings. And next week's ward managers away day will consider how we can introduce this new approach across the Trust.

The new 'safewards' model is based on years of research by nursing guru Len Bowers and the findings, presentation material, training aids and guidance are freely available at a touch of a button via social media.

The research looked at potentially harmful events such as aggression, rule breaking, substance use, absconding, medication refusal, and self-harm and identified the most effective ways of containing these negative events.

While recognising that there is no single answer and that some factors are outside anyone's control, the Safewards model identifies a range of feasible interventions which are proved to make a difference.

These can be as simple as setting clear mutual expectations, using soft words, mitigating bad news, mutual help and increasing mutual understanding, using calm down methods and providing reassurance - approaches nurses use in their day to day activities.

But alongside increasing the use of such techniques, the Safeward model drops some of the most disliked interventions such as restraint, rapid tranquilisation and the outcome is that conflict on wards decreased by 14.6 per cent and containment activity decreased by 23.6 per cent.

Deputy director of nursing Alan Metherall said: "These findings are really significant and we are keen to encourage matrons, ward managers and the wider team to look at the information and apply it to their own wards. All the evidence says this will benefit service users and staff."

The great thing also is that all the material needed to train staff and implement Safewards is available on social media, said Alan and he encouraged staff to find out more via:

• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/safewards/
• YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSmHNS2fTE81Wa3BCa5UC4g 
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/Safewards

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