Activities include a breakfast club, healthy eating sessions and innovative exercise classes which all play a crucial role in the patient’s recovery. These and other examples, help improve and practice skills such as mobility and meal and drink preparation which are needed for when they return home.
Kate King is the Ward Manager at Ark Royal and say’s “Encouraging activity with patients is so important as the longer patients stay in bed the higher risk they are at of infection and mobility loss. Research has shown that where patients stay in their pyjamas or dressing gowns for a long period, this can have a drastic effect on their fitness and muscle strength. This increases the deterioration of the patients and makes it harder for them to re-claim their independence, which in turn tends to lengthen their hospital time - it’s a vicious circle.”
The activities have had a huge impact on patients being treated. In the past three months all patients on the ward have benefitted from the activities. Furthermore all patients were contacted after discharge ensuring they were comfortable, safe and had good overall health and wellbeing following leaving hospital and returning home.
Patient John Ward, who was treated on Ark Royal following a badly fractured arm says, “I can’t praise the staff on Ark Royal enough, I felt my daily dose of being active helped me regain my independence. A day in a hospital is always a long one and getting up and doing something made the day fly by. If I didn’t get this opportunity, I feel my progress would have definitely been slower.”
Clive Lubert is the Health & Wellbeing Co-ordinator for Age Concern Hampshire and engages with the patients every day, Clive says, “Everyone has their daily routine at home, but when these patients are in hospital, that all changes and they lose some ability to perform even basic functions. These activities increase their physical function and the ability to do everyday activities. I have wanted to help people all my life and I believe that it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do with your time.”
The scheme was launched 15 months ago after Southern Health recognised the need to do more to help frail older people, not only while they are being cared for but also additional support for when they get home.
Southern Health also fund similar activities on the rehabilitation ward in Petersfield Hospital.