New guidance has been launched to support acute hospital staff in caring for vulnerable patients who are in emotional crisis on top of their physical health needs.
The Brief Encounters guidance notes it can be hard for staff to know what to say or find the time when on a busy ward.
“Sometimes it is emotionally very difficult if your patient is distressed and you’re not sure how to respond”
But it highlights that interactions can make a positive difference to patients, as well as bringing “comfort, empowerment and reassurance”.
Brief Encounters has been produced jointly by Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust and Star Wards, a project run by the social justice charity Bright.
Dr Joy Bray, guideline co-author and mental health specialist nurse, said: “Staff on general wards are fantastic and enjoy working with their patients. However, sometimes it is emotionally very difficult if your patient is distressed and you’re not sure how to respond.
“Brief Encounters is designed to increase your confidence and recognise that often how you want to respond is the right thing to do,” she said.
The resource is available as a free download