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A theatrical experience boosts morale

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The multi-disciplinary team at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust found that doing something out of the ordinary to boost a patient’s morale also boosted their own.

SOTM-Short stay unit UHNT

L to R: Ward clerk and Care Maker Jan Allinson, occupational therapist Becky Auton, director of nursing, patient safety and quality Cath Siddle, occupational therapist Stacey Rutter, ward matron Claire Ranson , associate practitioner Lisa Lane, assistant director of nursing and professionals standards Debbie Blackwood and senior nurse, professional standards Louise Samuel

A young lady with Down’s syndrome was admitted to hospital as an emergency and transferred to the short stay unit. Staff on the unit used her passport to find out her preferences about waking and eating times to keep her routine as normal as possible; however she was very withdrawn and reluctant to engage with any of the staff. 

On discussion with her family, it was identified that her mobility had been deteriorating prior to her admission and she was therefore referred to the Emergency Care Therapy Team (ECTT).

For this lady to receive the appropriate treatment from all disciplines, the multi-disciplinary team used a consistent approach with her, in allowing her more time at ward rounds and nursing handovers, and encouraging other ladies in her bay to engage in conversations with her and finding out her interests.

Gradually she began to build trust in the staff and developed relationships that enabled her to receive appropriate treatment and rehabilitation.

Deborah Blackwood, Assistant Director of Nursing and Professional Standards, explained: “During one of her therapy sessions she told one of the Specialist Therapy Assistants that she was a big fan of Holby City, and asked what the theatres were like in North Tees hospital and if she could visit them. The therapy staff liaised with staff in the day case theatres and explained the situation. With their co-operation and assistance it was made possible for the lady to visit day case theatres the same day.”

The lady was greeted by theatre staff, who discussed different pieces of equipment and provided her with a souvenir theatre cap. She was elated by her experience and, later in the day, made huge improvements with her mobility.

Cath Siddle, Director of Nursing at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, added: “The 6Cs and taking pride in delivering holistic care benefited the patient and impacted on team culture in the most amazing way. Not only did the experience have a positive effect on the patient, but working together on this created a real buzz among the staff and boosted their morale.”

Marie Batey, Head of Acute and Older People at NHS England, said: “This story is very special in so many ways. One feature that stands out in particular is the energy demonstrated by the multidisciplinary team and the positive effect this had – not only on the patient’s experience but on staff morale.”

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