A nurse at a Birmingham hospital has been helping liver and gastrointestinal patients to recover using traditional board games and plastic model kits.
Teresa Deakin, a ward matron at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, bought the games via a grant scheme available to the organisation’s staff.
“It brings the whole ward closer when staff and patients can have a bit of fun together”
Under the “sprinkle some magic” scheme, staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham are able to request small grants to help improve their ward or area with “added extras”.
Ms Deakin first applied for funds from the hospital’s charity, which runs the scheme, in August.
She initially applied for a selection of board games, from Chinese Chequers to Connect Four, to help stimulate elderly people receiving care on Ward 726, which treats liver patients.
Following the success of those purchases, she decided to request a similar set for Ward 727, which cares for patients with liver and gastrointestinal problems.
The trust said the games provide much-needed entertainment, as well as being an “invaluable” aid for cognitive recovery for patients whose condition makes them disoriented or easily confused.
“Having the games allows us to interact with and care for patients in a different way”
Ms Deakin said: “The board games went down so well on Ward 726 that I had to get the same for Ward 727.
“We have a variety of games like Snakes & Ladders, Draughts, and Scrabble, as well as more creative things like Airfix modelling kits,” she said. “The patients love them – the Airfix models are really popular and we’ve had a few people wanting to take them home.”
She added: “I think for some of our older patients playing these classic games takes them back to when they had children of their own, but all ages love them. It brings the whole ward closer when staff and patients can have a bit of fun together, even in a clinical setting.”
Ward manager Alison King said the initiative also allowed nursing staff to interact with patients in a “different way”.
“We’ve had nurses and the people they are treating playing Connect Four and cards together as well as groups of patients, which is really lovely to see,” she said.
The hospital charity has been offering grants to staff since 2013, with successful requests including funds to provide lockers for patients using MRI machines, CD players, books, DVDs, and headphones.