Last November, our enter and view team carried out a series of visits to three in-patient wards at Park Royal Mental Health Centre. Speaking to patients and staff, we wanted to understand more about the experience of living on these wards and the care being received. We also wanted to know whether patients were receiving care that met their individual cultural or religious needs.
During our visits, we identified a number of key areas for improvement. Our recommendations include:
- Ensuring patients have a copy of their care plan and the opportunity to discuss it with staff.
- Patients and relatives to receive more information about the NHS complaints process and access to Independent Mental Health Advocacy, to ensure they are able to voice any concerns.
- Appropriate refresher training, for instance in communication skills.
- Better access to religious items, such as prayer mats or religious books, and to religious or spiritual leaders.
- A wider range of meaningful activities.
We’re pleased to see a commitment from the service to act on these recommendations, with a number of changes already underway and an action plan in place to ensure that improvements are made.
The trust has taken steps such as adding information about advocacy services to the induction pack, advertising these services more widely, and implementing daily discussions of care plans with patients. These changes will make a notable difference to the overall experience on the ward. Staff have also started a wider conversation with patients and family members/carers to agree how they can best support religious and cultural needs.
Our team will continue to liaise closely with the ward managers to ensure these changes are put into practice.
The work was led by Volunteers and Projects Officer Ibrahim Ali. Reflecting on the visits, Ibrahim said:
"This is the first time we’ve carried out a visit to a mental health in-patient ward, and I was very impressed with the commitment of our volunteers who took the time to learn about the services and the needs of the patients. We also carried out dedicated training to ensure everybody felt comfortable and confident carrying out their role. The service has been very welcoming and responsive, so we look forward to building an ongoing relationship that will really benefit patients, families and staff."