05 May 2016

Service users and staff are benefiting from Safewards

Discharge tree"I'd like to thank this lady for ironing my trousers" said one grateful service user to another.

I'm sat in the bright and airy communal area in one of our psychiatric wards, listening to a lively and engaging chat between service users and staff. I'm struck by the general feeling of camaraderie on the ward. Other topics of conversation include the eagerly anticipated table tennis tournament, the return of dirty cups to the kitchen and ideas for improving the shared garden.   

These mutual help meetings are voluntary and take place on Applewood Ward in Swindon on a regular basis. They give service users and staff the opportunity to get to know each other, offer and share help and generally support each other whilst on the ward.

Mutual help meetings form part of the Safewards initiative, set up to make psychiatric wards more peaceful places, increasing safety, reducing coercion and building relationships between service users and staff.

Safewards is being embraced in many wards and is rolling out across our Trust. It creates a therapeutic nursing environment based on 10 interventions including clear and mutual expectations between staff and service users; the use of soft and positive words and offering reassurance.  

Tori Mitchell, Senior Practitioner on Applewood Ward said "Staff have worked hard to make Applewood Ward a Safeward and we are really seeing the results. The ward is a much calmer place, where service users are safe and supported whilst receiving treatment".

On leaving the ward, I take the time to read the many positive messages displayed on the 'discharge tree', another element of the Safewards initiative and a feature in many of our wards. It is an eye catching work of art which adorns the wall and a colourful reminder of the service users who have left the ward, leaving behind them words of thanks, hope end encouragement to those who remain.

'Brilliant staff. Never give up hope and always believe in yourself.'






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