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Nurses at Suffolk mental health unit adopt new safety model

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A new model of care to reduce aggression and promote safety for staff and patients has been adopted by the Ipswich base for acute mental health services in East Suffolk.

The Woodlands site has become the first unit within Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to adopt the Safewards model, which is based around 10 interventions.

Based on research by Len Bowers, professor of psychiatric nursing at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, the Safewards model encourages staff and patients to work together to reduce factors such as aggression and self-harm.

“There has been a strong and positive acceptance of this model”

Tara Brown

It also promotes reducing the use of interventions including extra medication, one-to-one observations and restraint.

Department of Health guidance on reducing the use of patient restraint, published earlier this month, backed the model.

The Safewards model had “demonstrated significant effectiveness in achieving reductions in incidents of conflict and the use of physical restraint,” stated the paper, Positive and Proactive Care: Reducing The Need For Restrictive Interventions.

Acting modern matron at Woodlands, Tara Brown, said: “Our use of Safewards followed a review of incidents of restraint. We looked at the evidence for practice used in other areas and learnt how Safewards had been adopted by other trusts across the country.”

She said inpatient staff had attended training sessions in February and been provided information about the research behind Safewards.

Ms Brown added: “Since then, we have identified champions who are promoting Safewards and supporting teams and each other in using the interventions.

“There has been a strong and positive acceptance of this model and it has fuelled enthusiasm for therapeutic practices, which have a strong evidence base,” she said.

Following the successful introduction of Safewards at Woodlands, work is being undertaken to introduce it to the trust’s inpatient wards at King’s Lynn.


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