One of the key drivers for this project was to make improvements to the environment and culture so that patients were less likely to see a decline in their mental health, by enabling better social interaction on the ward and giving staff more time for therapeutic contact. Staff would also be supported to spot early indicators and access therapies for patients when needed.
Some quick and simple changes to the ward layout have already had a positive impact and made it a more pleasant environment, for patients to relax together and for staff to carry out observations in a less formal setting.
The project started off well and achieved many of the projected actions in the first 30 days. This included the main actions of appointing a new team administrator, advertising for a clinical psychologist and changing the ward environment to be more therapeutic.
Unfortunately as we moved towards the 60 day milestone there were unforeseen events which impacted on the ability of the team to continue to move on with their actions. The sister ward (Beaulieu) was shut down at only a week’s notice due to staffing issues and required a great deal of time and attention from the management team and staff. Very sadly, just as things were settling down after this upheaval, one of the team's psychiatry consultants died unexpectedly, which had a devastating impact on the team.
We therefore decided to freeze the project for six weeks, to allow the team to regroup, maintain the changes already made, and come to terms with the changes in their service. The project group met at the start of January and agreed to restart the process with a view to taking a further 30 days to work on the project. We have agreed a plan for the next steps and will carry out repeat observations to look at changes so far in the amount of psychological thinking in clinical care plans and face to face patient time, which were the areas highlighted in the original observations to work on.