The first time I’ve attended facilitated poster session, really interesting mix of posters and very proficient presenters.
First, was Claire Martin “Utilising the residential environmental impact scale (REIS) to increase patient participation in activities within a ward environment”. Claire spoke eloquently about using the REIS to assess their ward environment that was in an old building not designed for its current purpose. Now used by people with severe and enduring mental health conditions, the ward had a very low initial score on the REIS, meaning that both the physical and human environment were not conducive to good care and wellbeing. Claire described how she worked with the whole staff team, including estates, to address the issues and then embed the REIS as a quality improvement measure, revisited on a three monthly cycle. The environment is now much improved and the team working cohesively to continue improvements.
Claire really made me wonder why we don’t use the REIS more in our practice as the environment is nowadays considered to play such a crucial role in people’s recovery from ill health. We often talk about the challenges of our inpatient environments and the need to improve them, but most of us don’t consider them in a structured or standardised way. I will be having discussions about this when I get back to Sheffield!
Second, was Jennimae Chouchelamane “Occupational therapists delivering Schwartz rounds to improve staff health and wellbeing in work”. Schwartz rounds are on the increase in the NHS and are implemented to address the variation in compassionate care received by service users. The idea being that if organisations invest in looking after their staff there will be organisational and patient benefits. Schwartz rounds involve up to four panellists sharing their story on a particular topic for five minutes to stimulate wider discussion within a staff group. The sessions focus on sharing emotions instead of problem solving. Staff say the benefits include helping them provide improved care for patients and work better with colleagues.
It is great that compassionate care is now considered important both for our staff and service users and exciting that occupational therapists have a role in this. I’d be really interested in seeing further evaluations of Schwartz rounds incorporating service user focussed outcomes.
Lastly, Sarah Carter “Does recover in mental health settings need professionals?”. Well, we have lots of discussion about this in Sheffield, so I was really looking forward to getting an answer! Sarah described recovery as the development of meaning and purpose beyond illness. She gave us a whistle stop tour through the history of the medical professions, the ownership of power and how civil rights movements have galvanised change. People with mental health conditions are amongst the most marginalised in society, many are now coming together to create societal change around mental health, often having been failed by professionals. Professionals acknowledge this and peer support is now integral to mental health care and most people who have experienced challenges to their mental health would describe peer support as beneficial to their recovery. So, is there a need for health professionals at all? Sarah’s conclusion was that recovery is the responsibility of society, but yes health professionals still have a role to play. We need to help service users build those connections with each other to develop supportive communities focussed on encouraging everyone to do, be and belong. Fascinating stuff!
Written by Laura Di Bona