Cumbria Crack

Breakfast café and activity programme support patients’ hospital recovery

Brenda Graham OT Technical Instructor, Kelly Rowley OT Assistant, Sally Clark OT, Vicky O’Brien Specialist OT

A breakfast café and activity programme have been introduced for hospital patients in Whitehaven to support their recovery.

Occupational therapists at West Cumberland Hospital, have introduced a breakfast café where patients go along and make their own breakfast with the support of therapy staff. The activity, which gets patients out of bed and off the ward, is used by occupational therapists to assess patients’ needs and determine the type of support they might need at home.

The kitchen has been given a makeover, with music playing and pictures on the walls, to replicate the home environment. Gwyn Lishman, Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist, explained: “Using the kitchen makes our assessments a lot more real. We can see how patients cope with different situations and what support they might need when they leave. We find that patients work harder when there is a set goal – in this case making breakfast – for example standing for longer or walking further.

“It’s a good laugh too. It gives patients a something to look forward to and we’ve found a coffee and a crack with others in the kitchen lifts everyone’s spirits!”

A therapeutic activity programme has also been introduced on ward 4 to reduce the risk of falls and speed up recovery. Nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and dieticians have all been involved in developing the programme which is tailored to the current patients’ needs.

Activities such as floor dominos, gentle exercises and word games are all used as a therapeutic part of recovery. All of the activities have been designed with a therapeutic theme, for example a version of Blockbusters game show has been adapted with questions around falls prevention to aid rehabilitation. The activities take place in the mornings and give patients a reason to get up and dressed – which has been proven to aid recovery.

Hilary Stitt, Physiotherapist, said: “We tailor each activity to patients’ needs and always try to make it fun. For example we might focus on strength and balance activities to reduce risk of falls. We find that once people are dressed for the activity, they’re more likely to stay up and dressed for lunch, which they can eat in the day room rather than by their bed.”

The social element of these initiatives is also important for patients’ wellbeing while in hospital. Mary, one of the patients on ward 4, commented:

“When you are with others you don’t worry so much about things that are wrong.”

Both projects support the national #EndPJParalysis campaign to get patients up, dressed and moving. Lying in a hospital bed for long periods can result in loss of muscle strength and reduced mobility but getting up and dressed enhances dignity, autonomy and, in many instances, shortens length of stay.

Development of eight Integrated Care Communities (ICCs) in north Cumbria aims to keep more people out of hospital and if they do need a hospital stay, to get them home sooner. Projects like the breakfast café and therapeutic activity programme aim to reduce the time people spend in hospital and reduce the risk of deconditioning during their stay so they are more likely to maintain their independence.

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