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Diversional therapists improve patient care at UHNM

Elderly patients at University Hospitals of North Midlands are benefitting from extra support thanks to a new role which aims to get patients moving and prevent loss of independence.

The new role is currently being piloted for one year and aims to get patients up and out of bed to prevent deconditioning syndrome which happens with prolonged bed rest and the associated loss of muscle strength.

Six diversional therapists have been appointed to work in the elderly care wards at Royal Stoke University Hospital who will one-on-one time with a patient to help keep them mobile. The therapist encourages patients to play a board game, watch a TV programme, go for a coffee and have a walk.

Amanda Woolley, UHNM Lead Diversional Therapist, said: “I’m really happy we have introduced diversional therapists to the West building. Each therapist has their own ward and will interact with each patient, if they fancy doing a puzzle, getting their nails done or even going out or fresh air, we will spend time with them.

“The feedback we have received from patients has been so positive, it’s made patients more confident about going home and getting back to normal life once they have been in hospital. It’s great to make a patient feel wanted.”

UHNM charity provided the funds to enable the team to buy the activity equipment for each trolley.

Lee- ann  Boardman, UHNM Matron for Older Adults, said: “My vision was that the elderly care wards each have a diversional therapist, kitted out with the materials they need to provide patients with extra support to help them keep active whilst in hospital.

“Since the team have been in post, patient falls have dropped dramatically and we will continue to monitor this as the pilot progresses. 

“Patients and their families have given us fantastic feedback about how the therapists have helped them during their time in hospital. I’m really proud of the team and it’s really exciting to see it all come together.”