An innovative new project has been launched at the RUH in Bath which aims to encourage elderly patients to get up and about and prepare them for their return home.
The ‘Dayroom to Doorstep’ initiative, the brainchild of Senior Sister Helen Slocombe, with support from Occupational Therapist Annabel Hafner, has seen a once underused dayroom on Combe ward brought back to life by staff.
The bright and airy dayroom is now a focal point for patients on the ward, which specialises in care for older people.
It is kitted out with comfy chairs and a big table and has been sensitively decorated to compliment a number of vintage props, including an old television and rotary dial telephone.
The dayroom is the venue for games and art sessions, while patients are encouraged to get up and about and make themselves a cup of tea in the dayroom’s kitchen.
Annabel said: “Encouraging the patients to get out of bed and move around is so important for their muscle strength. It also builds their confidence and independence.
“We also encourage patients on the ward to dress in their own clothes while they are with us as this has been shown to aid their recovery.”
During Wimbledon, staff had the idea of treating patients to strawberries and cream in the dayroom.
Helen said: “We’ve really changed the way we work on Combe ward, making sure the dayroom is at the centre of everything that happens on the ward from daily lunch clubs to ensuring timely discharges.
“Patients are much more mobile and socialising with one another. It also helps the hospital with patient flow. On a day a patient is due to be discharged, we will support them into the day room as early as possible to prepare them for their journey home, at the same time freeing up a much-needed bed.
“The Dayroom to Doorstep project has been a real success and there are plans to expand it to other wards at the RUH.”
The project has attracted worldwide attention, with Helen and Annabel speaking at a virtual ‘End PJ Paralysis’ global summit conference, which focused on the different work being done to encourage hospital patients to get up and about, wearing their own clothes, to boost their recovery.
Also speaking at the conference, was Team Lead Occupational Therapist Nicola Stirling, who talked about “Spreading the End PJ Paralysis love” message throughout the RUH.
Nicola said: “This is such an important message and we are so passionate about it here at the RUH. Supporting patients to get up, get dressed and get moving gives them back their identity and sense of purpose, which is often lost whilst in hospital.
“It’s all about helping our patients feel like themselves again.”