Tachwedd 2023 – mae Emma Cullingford yn dechrau yn ei rôl newydd
Y mis hwn oedd fy ail Gyngor Cleifion gan fy mod yn ymgartrefu yn fy rôl newydd fel Swyddog Cyfranogiad PAVO. Rwyf i a John, ein gwirfoddolwr gyda’r Cyngor Cleifion, wedi cyfarfod â phobl hyfryd ac wedi cael sgyrsiau da am sut y gellir gwella profiadau pobl o aros ar Ward Felindre.
Mae ein cyfarfodydd wedi bod yn dawel gyda dim ond ychydig o bobl wedi dod draw ond codwyd pwyntiau gwerthfawr yr ydym wedi gallu mynd â nhw ymlaen i reolwr y ward, Rebecca.
Un o’r prif faterion a amlygwyd oedd absenoldeb seicolegydd ar y ward a dywedodd staff y ward wrthym fod y swydd wag wedi’i hysbysebu. Mewn llwyddiant diweddar, rydym wedi cael gwybod bod y swydd wedi’i llenwi a bydd seicolegydd ar y ward ddwywaith yr wythnos gan ddechrau ym mis Rhagfyr 2023.
Mae gwaith atgyweirio ar y to wedi dechrau yn ddiweddar. Er y gallai hyn achosi rhywfaint o aflonyddwch, mae rhai canlyniadau cadarnhaol a all godi o ganlyniad i’r gwaith hwn y mae mawr ei angen. Er enghraifft, cael paneli solar wedi’u hadeiladu ar y to a’r cyfle i wella’r signal rhyngrwyd ledled y ward (mater sydd wedi’i adrodd dro ar ôl tro)’
Pwynt arall a godwyd oedd cael gwaith celf ar y ward a rhywbeth diddorol ar y waliau i edrych arno. Yn dilyn y gwaith atgyweirio to, soniodd Rebecca y bydd paent ffres a phrosiect i bob ystafell wely gael llun maint ffenestr. Rydym hefyd yn gweithio gyda Celf o Gwmpas i drefnu sesiynau celf wythnosol a gynhelir gan artistiaid lleol.
Hydref 2023 – y diweddariad diwethaf gan Owen Griffkin
Hwn oedd fy Nghyngor Cleifion olaf y mis hwn wrth i mi ddechrau fy rôl newydd yn PAVO, ac mae’n debyg mai hwn oedd un o’r rhai prysuraf yr ydym wedi’i gael. Cafwyd trafodaeth am yr angen am fwy o therapïau seicolegol ar y ward sy’n fater sydd wedi’i amlygu o’r blaen. Yn anffodus mae mater recriwtio yn effeithio ar bob adran ar hyn o bryd ond mae’n dda ein bod yn casglu adborth i ddangos pwysigrwydd hyn.
Roedd rhai syniadau hefyd ar gyfer cyrsiau/hyfforddiant hunan-wella gan gynnwys coginio a phrosiectau celf . Mae’r Therapydd Galwedigaethol yn mynychu rhai cyrsiau hyfforddi yn fuan er mwyn iddi allu cyflwyno rhai o’r rhain.
Cafwyd awgrymiadau hefyd am gyllideb i gleifion newydd i’w helpu i brynu hanfodion, therapi anifeiliaid a hyd yn oed prosiect tymor hwy i sefydlu tyddyn ar y tir drws nesaf i’r ysbyty.
Trosglwyddwyd yr holl faterion ac awgrymiadau i reolwr y ward, y mae hi wedi ymateb iddynt a bydd fy olynydd, Emma, a Gwirfoddolwr Cyngor y Cleifion, John, yn mynd â’r ddogfen i’r cyfarfod Engage to Change nesaf.
Mae gweithio ar y prosiect hwn wedi bod yn agoriad llygad ers dros 6 mlynedd a gweld ymroddiad y gwirfoddolwyr John a Rhydian i fynd yn ôl i’r ward a darparu’r gwasanaeth hwn i bobl, a’r canlyniadau y maent wedi’u cyflawni. Rwyf hefyd am ddiolch i’r staff am ein croesawu ac am dderbyn y feirniadaeth a’r awgrymiadau a gasglwn, a hefyd i’r bobl yr ydym yn siarad â hwy am ddod o hyd i amser ac egni i roi adborth gan eu bod yng nghanol eu proses adfer.
Os hoffech wybod am wirfoddoli i Gyngor y Cleifion cysylltwch â’r Swyddog Cyfranogiad newydd yn firstname.lastname@example.org
Hwn oedd fy Nghyngor Cleifion olaf y mis hwn, a derbyniais gerdyn hyfryd wedi’i wneud â llaw o’r ward pan gyrhaeddais a oedd yn syndod braf. Syndod arall oedd nad oedd gennym ein bwrdd arferol i eistedd arno gan ei fod wedi’i orchuddio â deunyddiau crefft a oedd yn dda i’w weld. Cawsom lawer o awgrymiadau ar gyfer gweithgareddau posibl gan bobl ar y ward gan gynnwys therapi anifeiliaid anwes, syniadau ar gyfer gweithdai bwyd a syniad cŵl ar gyfer clwb cyfryngau cymdeithasol i gynnwys rhannu straeon a phrofiadau gyda grwpiau eraill tra ar y ward.
Rhannodd rheolwr y ward, Rebecca, ddiweddariad hefyd ar y gwaith arfaethedig a fydd yn cael ei wneud i drwsio rhai o’r problemau gyda’r to. Gallai hyn achosi peth aflonyddwch ond yn anffodus mae angen gwneud y gwaith. Bydd rhai canlyniadau cadarnhaol o’r gwaith hwn yn cynnwys paneli solar wedi’u hadeiladu ar eu pennau, a chyfle i wella’r signal Rhyngrwyd ledled y ward.
Rydym yn dal i chwilio am wirfoddolwr benywaidd i fynychu rhai o sesiynau Cyngor y Cleifion felly os hoffech ragor o wybodaeth am hyn anfonwch e-bost atom yn email@example.com
Rwyf wedi ymweld â Ward Felindre gyda’n gwirfoddolwr Cyngor Cleifion, John, ar dri achlysur dros y tri mis diwethaf ac rydym wedi cael sgyrsiau adeiladol iawn gyda chleifion a staff am weithgareddau’r ward yn y dyfodol. Roedd yna ddigwyddiad doniol ar ein hymweliad diwethaf pan aeth aelod o staff ar ei ochr ar ei ffordd i ddweud wrth gleifion ein bod ni yno, gan olygu i ni eistedd yno am 20 munud yn meddwl nad oedd neb eisiau ein gweld!
Fodd bynnag, rhoddodd hyn gyfle i ni wirio’r cysylltiad rhyngrwyd a chawsom ein synnu ar yr ochr orau i weld ei fod yn eithaf da yn yr Ystafell Adfer. Roeddem yn gallu cael teledu byw ar ein ffonau a gwylio Netflix heb unrhyw broblemau. Daeth yn fwy amrywiol mewn rhannau eraill o’r ward, ond mae hyn yn dangos bod yr atebion tymor byr wedi’i wella. Mae cynlluniau i uwchraddio seilwaith yn y tymor hwy hefyd yn y dyfodol.
Yn y pen draw, gwelsom lawer o gleifion ar yr ymweliad hwn, a chlywsom eu profiadau ar y ward a oedd yn faterion personol yn bennaf yn ymwneud â’u hadrannau, felly gwnaethom eu cynghori i siarad â’r Eiriolwr Iechyd Meddwl Annibynnol. Weithiau mae pobl yn poeni am eu harhosiad, ac mae cael John fel gwirfoddolwr yn amhrisiadwy gan fod ganddo brofiad o aros ar y ward ac mae’n wych yn eu helpu i ddeall pam eu bod yno, a sut y gall eu helpu, ac roedd yn gallu i roddi llawer o sicrwydd ar ei ychydig ymweliadau diweddaf yno. Cafwyd adborth ffafriol hefyd yn sôn am Fronllys o gymharu â Wardiau Iechyd Meddwl eraill yr oedd pobl wedi aros arnynt, a oedd yn galonogol.
Rydym wedi bod yn cynnal trafodaethau gyda staff y ward a grwpiau lleol ynghylch darparu gweithgareddau celf a cherddoriaeth ar y ward, ac rydym yn edrych ar bosibiliadau. Hefyd cyflwynodd artist lleol dair sesiwn yr wythnos diwethaf fel rhan o brosiect y maent yn gweithio arno, felly byddwn yn edrych ymlaen at weld canlyniadau hynny y tro nesaf y byddwn yn mynd. Cynhyrchwyd cylchlythyr i bobl ar y ward, a’n nod yw cael gwaith creadigol yn cael ei gynhyrchu yn ystod y gweithgareddau sy’n cael eu cynnwys ynddo, yn ogystal â’i arddangos mewn mannau cymunedol.
Gyda rheolwr newydd ar y ward nawr, maen nhw wedi trafod pwnc y gampfa arfaethedig hefyd. Byddai’n wych gweld y cynnydd hwn gan fod sôn amdano ers amser maith a gobeithio ein bod yn dod yn nes at ei wireddu o’r diwedd.
Rydym wedi cael cyfarfodydd da iawn yn ddiweddar ar Ward Felindre ar gyfer Cyngor Cleifion ac mae wedi bod yn dda iawn clywed profiadau pobl tra ar y ward. Gyda’r tywydd yn mynd yn brafiach rydym wedi cael llawer o syniadau am ymarfer corff y gall pobl ei wneud y tu allan, gydag awgrymiadau fel mapiau Arolwg Ordnans, neu fapiau wedi’u creu’n arbennig gyda theithiau cerdded lleol ymlaen. Bu llawer o gefnogaeth ar gyfer campfa fach bosibl, neu o leiaf rhywfaint o offer y gall pobl ei ddefnyddio ar y ward ac mae hyn yn rhywbeth sydd wedi bod yn cael ei gynllunio ers amser maith. Y gobaith yw y bydd hyn yn digwydd yn fuan oherwydd bod rhywfaint o le ar y ward oherwydd bod yr ystafell ysmygu ar gau.
Clywsom y gallai fod cynghorydd Cyngor ar Bopeth yn mynychu’r ward yn rheolaidd eto ac roedd hyn yn help mawr i bobl pan oedd yn ei le o’r blaen oherwydd gall dyled/arian neu faterion tai effeithio’n ddifrifol ar iechyd meddwl rhywun, a rhwystro eu hadferiad. tra ar y ward.
Buom hefyd yn trafod efallai gwneud apêl am lyfrau newydd i’w rhoi yn y llyfrgell cleifion felly edrych i wneud apêl am hyn yn y dyfodol, ac wedi bod yn gweithio gyda’r Therapydd Galwedigaethol ar rai syniadau am ddysgu ar-lein ar y ward, e.e. Cyrsiau am ddim y Brifysgol Agored. Syniad arall oedd cael brics Lego ar gyfer rhai crefftau ystyriol ymarferol y gellir eu gwneud unrhyw bryd.
Fe wnaethom gyfarfod â’r Rheolwr Ward newydd, Rebecca Stringer, yn y cyfarfod diweddaraf ddiwedd mis Mai a siarad â hi am faterion cleifion a sut y gallwn weithio gyda’n gilydd yn y dyfodol. Mae gan Rebecca lawer o brofiad mewn gwahanol feysydd o Iechyd Meddwl Powys ac rydym yn edrych ymlaen at weithio gyda hi yn y dyfodol.
Penny Gripper (Swyddog Partneriaeth Iechyd Meddwl, Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys), John Lilley (Cynrychiolydd Unigol) and Rebecca Stringer (Rheolwr Ward Felindre, BIAP)
Mae wedi bod yn ychydig fisoedd tawel i Gyngor Cleifion Powys gan ein bod wedi gorfod canslo ambell gyfarfod oherwydd eira, salwch a gwyliau staff. Fodd bynnag, o’r diwedd llwyddasom i gyrraedd Bronllys ddiwedd mis Mawrth a chwrdd â Rheolwr newydd y Ward, Rebecca a’i chroesawu i’r swydd.
Roedd yn dda gweld cynnydd ar rai o’r materion yr ydym wedi tynnu sylw atynt dros yr ychydig flynyddoedd diwethaf. Mae’r rheiddiaduron yn yr ystafelloedd gwely yn cael eu newid ar hyn o bryd, ac mae gwelliannau llai i’r mynediad i’r rhyngrwyd yn dod i rym. Clywsom hefyd mewn cyfarfod Engage to Change yn ddiweddar fod y Ganolfan Cyngor ar Bopeth yn gobeithio ailddechrau gwasanaethau ar y ward sy’n newyddion gwych, ac mae’n rhywbeth y mae’r gwirfoddolwr John Lilley wedi ymgyrchu drosto drwy gydol ei amser ar y Cyngor Cleifion.
Yn y cyfarfod ei hun buom yn siarad â 3 o bobl am eu profiad diweddar ar y ward ac yn amlygu 13 o faterion i reolwr y ward. Roedd rhai o’r rhain yn cynnwys syniadau ar gyfer campfa, ceisiadau crefft, ceisiadau ymarfer corff gan gynnwys beiciau, a sylwadau am barhad gofal wrth weithio gyda staff asiantaeth.
Byddwn yn ôl ar y ward ar ôl y Pasg pan efallai y bydd gennym wirfoddolwr newydd!
Mae Cyngor Cleifion Powys wedi ymweld â ward Felindre ddwywaith ers yr e-Fwletin diwethaf, ac wedi siarad â nifer o bobl ar y ward am eu profiadau tra buont yn aros yno. Rydym wedi cael adborth negyddol a chadarnhaol am y fwydlen gyfredol a gynigir, gyda bwydlen sir gyfan yn cael ei chyflwyno ym mhob un o safleoedd BIAP sydd wedi’i dylunio gyda maeth ac alergeddau mewn golwg. Mae’n debyg bod hyn wedi arwain at rai materion yn ymwneud â dewis felly byddwn yn parhau i gasglu sylwadau a’u trosglwyddo. Roedd gennym hefyd lawer o ddiddordeb mewn campfa bosibl ar y ward a byddem yn awyddus i weld y cynnydd hwn yn ystod y flwyddyn nesaf. Yn anffodus, nid yw mor hawdd â phrynu beic ymarfer corff a’i daflu yn yr hen ystafell ysmygu, ac mae llawer o faterion iechyd a diogelwch yn cael eu hystyried, ac efallai y bydd angen hyfforddiant ar staff ar sut i ddefnyddio’r offer.
Rydym hefyd wedi adrodd am rai materion WiFi, ac yn ddiweddar wedi cael diweddariad gan yr adran Dechnegol am rai gwelliannau tymor byr y maent wedi’u gwneud. Mae’r gwelliannau seilwaith tymor hwy hefyd ar y gweill ond byddwn yn parhau i lobïo i hyn fod yn flaenoriaeth. Ymhlith y materion eraill yr ymdriniwyd â hwy roedd cynhesrwydd ar y ward, adborth cadarnhaol i staff a hefyd aethpwyd i’r afael â rhai materion a adroddwyd yn flaenorol ynghylch amseroedd ysmygu. Mae pobl wedi sylwi ar welliant ers i’r rheolwr gweithgareddau newydd ddechrau yn eu rôl hefyd.
Yn olaf roedd yn ddrwg gennym glywed bod Greg Luetchford, rheolwr presennol y ward, yn gadael ei swydd yn fuan. Dymunwn yn dda iddo yn y dyfodol ac edrychwn ymlaen at weithio gyda’r rheolwr nesaf yn y Flwyddyn Newydd.
Rydym wedi cael dau ymweliad diweddar â Ward Felindre dros y mis diwethaf, a gallwn wir sylwi ar y newid yn y tymhorau ar safle Bronllys, gyda’r coed yn troi’n frown bob tro y byddwn yno.
Roedd yn bleser gennym groesawu Rhydian yn ôl fel gwirfoddolwr gyda’i brofiad a’i dosturi yn gaffaeliad mawr i’r cyngor.
Cawsom ddiweddariad gan yr adran TGCh ynghylch y Wi-fi ar y ward, gyda rhai gwelliannau bach wedi’u nodi, a newidiadau mwy yn dal i gael eu cynllunio.
Pwysleisiodd y gwirfoddolwyr unwaith eto y pwysigrwydd y maent yn ei roi ar wasanaeth y Ganolfan Cyngor ar Bopeth i fod yn hygyrch iawn ar y ward, a nodwyd bod rôl y Seicolegydd yn wag ar hyn o bryd. Roedd y rôl hon wedi bod yn fuddiol iawn i gleifion a staff, a gobeithio y caiff y swydd ei llenwi’n fuan. Mae’r cydlynydd gweithgareddau newydd wedi dechrau ac ymatebodd pobl ar y ward yn gadarnhaol i’r gwahaniaeth y mae hyn yn ei wneud, yn enwedig gyda’r nos ac ar benwythnosau.
Mae’r amser rydym wedi gallu ei dreulio ar Ward Felindre wedi’i gyfyngu i un sesiwn ar-lein ers yr adroddiad diwethaf, oherwydd protocolau iechyd a diogelwch ynghylch COVID-19. Roeddem yn falch o glywed bod un o’r prif faterion a godwyd yn ddiweddar ynghylch amserlennu amseroedd ysmygu fesul awr wedi cael sylw. Mae’r drysau i’r man ysmygu bob amser ar agor nawr, a gall pobl smygu pan maen nhw eisiau. Un canlyniad i hyn yw bod rhai pobl wedi dweud eu bod yn ysmygu llai nag o’r blaen mewn gwirionedd gan nad ydynt yn teimlo bod yn rhaid iddynt ddewis yr amseroedd a neilltuwyd bob awr. Yn y gorffennol efallai y byddai pobl wedi meddwl y byddent yn ‘colli allan’ ar eu cyfle i ysmygu pe na baent yn manteisio ar bob cyfle i ysmygu, ond nawr mae’n agored eu bod yn ysmygu llai.
Cafwyd adroddiadau cadarnhaol hefyd am y seicolegydd ar y ward, a’r effaith y mae’n cael ar hwyliau pobl yn y boreau ar ôl sesiynau, a hefyd mae pobl wedi bod yn mwynhau gweithgareddau a ddarperir gan y tîm Therapi Galwedigaethol.
Rydym hefyd wedi trosglwyddo rhai sylwadau gan CADMHAS, sy’n darparu gwasanaeth eiriolaeth ar y ward, am eu mynediad at gleifion a’r hysbysiad y maent yn ei dderbyn ynghylch: cyfarfodydd amlddisgyblaethol. Mae trafodaethau’n mynd rhagddynt ynghylch ffyrdd y gellir gwella hyn yn y tymor byr a’r cynlluniau tymor hwy. Byddwn yn ychwanegu eitem at yr agenda ar gyfer cyfarfod nesaf Engage to Change fel y gall y defnyddwyr gwasanaeth a’r cynrychiolwyr gofalwyr sy’n mynychu drafod hyn.
Byddwn yn ymweld â’r ward eto wythnos nesaf ac yn edrych ymlaen unwaith eto at weld staff a chleifion eto.
Ar ôl dwy flynedd, o’r diwedd roedd yn bosibl inni ddychwelyd i’r ward ar gyfer cyfarfod ‘wyneb yn wyneb’ ddechrau mis Mai -wrth gwrs, roedd yn ddiwrnod heulog braf, ac roedd mwyafrif y bobl ar y ward tu allan yn mwynhau’r heulwen. Er hynny, cafwyd cyfle i ddweud helô wrth nifer obobl, a chafwyd cyfarfod mawr ei angen gyda’r tîm TGCh ynglyn â’r WiFI. Roedd yn gyfarfod defnyddiol iawn, a lluniwyd cynllun gweithredu fydd yn golygu gwelliannau ar unwaith i’r WiFi.
Hefyd, aethom o gwmpas y ward yng nghwmni Greg, Rheolwr y Ward, ac roedd yn wych gweld y gwelliannau a wnaethpwyd ers yr ymweliad diwethaf ar ddechrau 2020.
Hefyd y mis hwn, ysgrifennwyd llythyrau o gefnogaeth i reolwyr y bwrdd iechyd mewn perthynas â sesiynau’r Cyngor ar Bopeth, a’r gweithdai Ysgrifennu Creadigol. Rydym wedi derbyn nifer o sylwadau cadarnhaol gan bobl ar y ward o ran pa mor ddefnyddiol oedd y pethau hyn, ac rydym wedi ategu hyn yn ein llythyrau.
Byddwn yn parhau i gynnig un cyfarfod misol ar-lein, ac un cyfarfod misol ‘wyneb yn wyneb’ i bobl ar y ward.
In the last month, we have held one Patients’ Council session where we spoke to two people currently staying on the ward. We heard some recurring issues that we have heard at previous meetings, namely the poor Wi-Fi and some issues around the food on offer. We are continuing to work with the ICT ( informations and communications technology) team and highlight issues to them, and they had made some adjustments on the day we held our meeting so hopefully some of these improvements will be noticeable now. The food issues have been brought up since a new menu was introduced to fall in-line with new allergy regulations, but as it has been mentioned a few times, we will be bringing this to the attention of ward management. Other than that, feedback has been positive – the psychologist has been a big help to people, and there are daily mindfulness sessions at 9am. This is helping people have a positive and calming start to the day. A student psychologist, Baz, has written a blog going into more detail on this which you can read here. Also activities got a positive response again and now the weather is better hopefully there will be more outdoor opportunities. We have also started producing a regular newsletter and including creative work that has been produced during creative activities in this. We still don’t have a definite date to return to the ward but as Covid regulations are relaxed elsewhere hopefully it will be very soon.
Patients’ Council held their first meeting of the year last week and it was great to catch up with what has been happening on the ward since Christmas. We spoke to 3 people currently staying on the ward and they shared their experiences and ideas. Unfortunately the Wi-Fi still seems to be an issue which is very important for people on the ward, especially during Covid. There were also concerns raised around food allergy labelling and smoking outdoors which we have passed on to staff and will also highlight in our report to the Mental Health Planning and Development Partnership. At the start of the meeting we were introduced to the new psychologist on the ward, Debbie Hartwell, and the ward manager, Greg, outlined some of his plans to improve staff wellbeing. Look out for more on this in a future blog! There were positive comments about the activities happening at the moment. The creative writing workshops have started and people are really enjoying them. Patients’ Council is producing a monthly newsletter now which features some of the pieces of writing created during these sessions. The first issue will be handed out on the ward this week. It was also good to hear about the new activities coordinator role that is currently in the midst of recruitment, and also the addition of new staff in other positions on the ward. A lot of issues raised recently are due to unavoidable staff shortages that are being echoed in all areas of health and wellbeing, so any increase in staff is good news. PAVO also collected some unsold mens’ clothes from Ashfield Community Enterprise earlier this month, and dropped them off at the ward after the old stock ran out. Staff on the ward like to keep a number of items in stock just in case someone needs them during their stay. We’d like to say a big thank you to Ashfield for their donation. Finally we were very pleased to welcome back an old face with Rhydian Parry returning as a volunteer after a short break. Hopefully it won’t be long until we can actually go onto the ward in person and speak to people there, and also see the improvements made over the last two years.
Since September we have held three Patients’ Council meetings with people on the Felindre Mental Health ward, all virtual/online and recorded 26 different items in our issues log, shared with ward management. The feedback is generally positive still, with a lot of praise for staff coping in difficult situations brought about by COVID. There is a new psychotherapist working on the ward who is delivering mindfulness sessions which people have said have been very helpful. They are also hoping to start creative writing sessions led by Emma Benyon, who has delivered similar sessions for Mid and North Powys Mind. Alongside the pottery workshops this will provide regular activity for people on the ward, supplementing the programme devised by Millie Griffiths, the Occupation Therapist. Issues raised include the current lack of protected one-to-one time with staff for patients which is due to staffing issues at present. The ward isn’t immune to winter pressures felt throughout health and social care presently, and the ward manager is aware of the importance of these sessions. There is ongoing recruitment to fill currency vacancies so hopefully this improves soon. We are still looking for a female volunteer to provide diversity in our group of listeners and will continue to advertise this position. In the interim, Sarah Dale – the Mental Health Service User Rep, has volunteered to be available if anyone on the ward requests a female to speak to. PAVO have been asked to help source shoeboxes for people on the ward to make ‘soothe boxes’ which contain personal items that people can use to improve their wellbeing. We are in touch with some schools who collect them for Xmas projects to see if we can get their unused boxes. Finally the ward is making progress on the ‘Star Wards’ scheme, which provides a framework to improve mental health wards. Patients’ Council have supported this initiative since it was suggested and the volunteers are very pleased to see it in action. Hopefully soon we can visit the ward ourselves to see how it is working.
The last Patients’ Council was at the end of September and we started off by (virtually) meeting the new ward manager, Greg Leutchford. It was really good to hear some of his ideas for the future of the ward, and he is looking forward to working with the Patients’ Council in the future. Some of the positive news from the ward includes a new SmartTV in the lounge area, that will be connected to the internet soon. This will be great for offering more choice for people on the ward, and will help with organising activities such as comedy/theme nights. There are also some new staff roles which are having job descriptions written at the moment and we look forward to these going out to application. A new psychologist has also started on the ward, and we had a lot of comments at earlier Patients’ Council meetings about how beneficial this service was, so to have it back on the ward is great. As well as working one-to-one with people on the ward, there are also regular mindfulness sessions as well. At the last meeting we had 4 people attend and we heard a good variety of experiences and issues that have been fed back to the new ward manager. There were comments on the new menu that is being adapted to fall in line with new allergy guidelines, some building maintenance issues, comments about staffing levels through staff absences due to COVID isolation and some general comments about activities including some requests for indoor gym equipment when the weather is bad. We also discussed the importance of linking up with organisations such as Mid and North Powys Mind, Brecon Mind, Ponthafren and Ystradgynlais MInd so that people can gain skills and confidence, and maybe continue some of the activities they enjoyed on the ward once they leave. Finally one of the most positive things to come out of the meeting was that we have booked in the first ‘in-person’ meeting since January 2020 so we will be attending the ward at the end of October to speak face to face with people on the ward. We are very much looking forward to this as, while the virtual meetings are fine, they don’t come close to being able to sit with someone and discuss their experiences.
The last two Patients’ Council meetings have not been held as no-one wanted to see us at the designated time. However that doesn’t mean we haven’t received any feedback as people have been filling in paper forms instead, detailing their experiences on the ward. With the gorgeous weather we assume that when we have the scheduled meeting everybody is outside enjoying the sunshine, and partaking in the gardening activities organised by Millie, the Occupational Therapist. Millie has taken photos of these activities and written a short blog so watch this space for that. As mentioned above we still receive written experiences. In fact, during July we were able to add 30 separate issues that people wanted to share with the management team. These have been added to a new issues log document that will be discussed at future Engage to Change meetings. It is important for us to be able to offer different ways for people to share their experiences on the ward. During lockdown we have had to start the online service, and now the weather is better, or people may not want to use Zoom-style apps, the written forms are available on the ward at all times. Hopefully it won’t be long until we can resume our visits to the ward to add another way to hear what people on the ward want to say.
As the weather heats up, even in Powys, we have some good news in this month’s update regarding the Bronllys Ward. The windows that back onto the enclosed outdoor area have finally been fixed which means it is safe for people to go outside to smoke, or for recreation, without staff supervision. This is great timing as people can enjoy the good weather, and helps with the plan to turn the current smoking room into a gym. Hopefully this will progress over the next few months as this was a major sticking point in this plan. Also the ward have received funding to increase the frequency of the pottery classes that take place on the ward, so it will now happen twice a week. THis will be really beneficial for people on the ward, especially due to the nature of pottery as they can make, dry, and glaze their work in the space of a week instead of 2 or 3 weeks as was the case previously. We also hope to have creative writing classes delivered on the ward soon and have had a lot of people request this in our meetings so this is more good news. There will also be a new ward manager joining soon so we will be working closely with them to suggest some other long term measures which have been suggested by people, including swimming, comedy DVD evenings and also to raise issues that have been flagged, for example broken signs, faded paint on the stairs and possible activities. If you have stayed on the Felindre Ward at Bronllys before and would like to volunteer to be a Patients’ Council listener, please get in touch with PAVO’s Participation Officer Owen Griffkin at owen.griffkin(at)pavo.org.uk
Since the turn of the year we have continued to offer Patients’ Council feedback sessions online, and luckily the dodgy Powys internet has held up most of the time. We have held 5 sessions, and received over 35 separate pieces of feedback from people on the ward with suggestions ranging including replacing individual sachets of condiments with bottles, to setting up a wellbeing library with self-help books to aid recovery. We also receive issues that people raise about their time on the ward, and these have been passed on to the current manager of the ward and shared with the Mental Health Planning and Development Partnership. Carol Woodhouse, the ward manager, recently left the ward, and there will be a new manager recruited soon. Also Powys CItizens Advice Bureau recently started weekly surgeries using Attend Anywhere. This came about from feedback suggested by the volunteers, John and Rhydian. This will provide welcome relief to people on the ward from debt and benefit issues, and hopefully take some worry away from people to aid their recovery in the long term. At the most recent session, last week, we were also told that the windows on the inner garden area are now being fixed and made safe for patients. This could open up a lot more opportunities for leisure activities, including freeing up the current smoking room for a gym, which would be a wonderful way for people to stay fit and healthy whilst on the ward. Finally, we would like to recruit a female volunteer to the Patients’ Council who has experience of being a patient on Felindre Ward and who can attend online meetings every 2 weeks. If you would like to know more about exactly what this would entail, please contact Owen Griffkin at owen.griffkin(at)pavo.org.uk
Felindre Ward garden – before improvements were made As February crashes into view and Spring edges closer we are continuing to deliver Patients’ Council meetings for people staying on the Felindre Ward virtually through video conferencing. The benefit of this is increased meetings, so we look to hold two a month at present. We held the first meeting of the year last week, and it was very interesting to hear how people on the ward are coping with Covid restrictions. Cooking activities have to be done one-to-one with an OT so this allows people to cook a dish of their choice, and there are still Pottery lessons happening regularly. There was positive feedback about staff again and concerns raised about having people with varying degrees of mental health distress on the ward. Unfortunately due to the nature of an acute mental health ward this is unavoidable at present but we can help look at ways and ideas to mitigate this in the future. Facilities wise, the smoking shelter is now ready for use, and this should be happening soon but unfortunately a long-standing issue with the windows has not been fixed yet. The outside areas have had a good tidy-up by staff and people on the ward ahead of planned gardening projects for this year, and we had another good meeting with the Green Minds Project that is running in Brecon. The next stage is to look for funding for a project that could happen in the grounds next to the ward that would allow people on the ward the opportunity to get involved in gardening activities whilst on the ward. We will be consulting about how this will look so if you have been on the ward before and would like to get involved in this consultation please email owen.griffkin(at)pavo.org.uk. Felindre Ward garden after improvements, including new smoking shelter
We have continued to hold Patients’ Council meetings during the Covid restrictions by moving the meetings online. This has allowed us to increase the frequency of planned meetings to fortnightly. There haven’t been many issues related to Covid-19 raised, and the subject matter has remained as it was before restrictions began. People have reported less opportunities for exercise and we are continuing to work with the Health Board on the viability of gym equipment on the ward. We have also set up a link with the Green Minds Ecotherapy project based at Brecon Mind, and the Occupational Therapist will take people to Brecon to take part in the sessions there. We are also exploring the possibility of extending the project so that it takes part on the hospital site which would be ideal. There is a permanent Psychotherapist on the ward now, and they are conducting regular mindfulness sessions and promoting restful sleep, without tablets where possible, and one-to-one EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) sessions which are proving very effective with patients. The plan for the future of Patients’ Council is exploring how we continue as normality returns and hopefully continuing to offer online meetings alongside face-to-face meetings for a blended service that is flexible to people’s needs.
It’s working well meeting online. You still get to have quite a long chat with the people on the ward. Some of the recent issues include:
- The view from the window wasn’t great as the fence in the garden was poorly maintained. The area has now been turned over to an Occupational Therapy Gardening Group. We’re looking at partnering with local organisations on this project. We’re also hoping to raise some charitable funds for raised beds and a greenhouse which would be great.
- Someone else said that they really like it on the ward. “It’s very clean and the staff have been brilliant. Nice room to sleep in.” And they enjoyed the available activities.
- From the Suggestion Box on the wall (which can be used at any time between Patients’ Council meetings) came a request for access to music.
- One of the patients asked about volunteering in the garden after being discharged – so there is a volunteer pathway being set up
- Another patient said “I cannot overstate the amount of work these people do for me, they don’t get paid enough.”
- The pottery sessions have restarted – the tutor is now coming back onto the ward and that’s been a really helpful activity for everyone there.
- People have been asking for lighter, more appropriate books to be available on the ward so this is something we’re working on.
In future we may have an “on-demand” or “appointment” service as well as returning to face-to-face meetings once it is safe to do so as it has been good having online meetings. This also makes it easier for us to expand the Patients’ Council service to other areas in Powys. One of our Patients’ Council volunteers Rhydian Parry added:
- Money has been approved for gardening equipment which opens up another opportunity for an activity for patients.
- There’s also a new microwave and new table and chairs in the OT kitchen.
- There’s now a locum psychologist on the ward for three months doing three days a week to see how it goes. They’re doing group sessions and 1 to 1 sessions as well as mindfulness.
- Had a comment that the doors bang a lot, keeping people on edge. Sharp sudden noises aren’t good.
- Film nights now happen in the games room which is good as we’ve had quite a few comments in the past about there being a lack of activities at night and on weekends which can lead to boredom.
- I’ve also donated some Xbox 360 games to the ward on behalf of patients council as they had a console but only had one game. I’m going to ask around my friends to see if anybody else has suitable games to donate as well.
An update from Rhydian Parry, PPC volunteer, this month: As you can imagine Patients’ Council hasn’t been able to meet with patients on the ward with COVID going on. We have secured a laptop for use to hold virtual meetings, however we encountered some technical issues while trying to use it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. We think this is down to the ward having a poor internet connection. We did get some feedback through paper forms that patients filled in and these have been really useful. The ward has been quiet over the lockdown period, usually below half capacity and anecdotal evidence (eg from the Occupational Therapist and the forms filled in by patients) shows this has had a positive effect on people’s wellbeing. The ward is eligible to apply for additional funding through Frontline Leadership Support Service to enhance the wellbeing of NHS staff, volunteers and patients impacted by COVID19. Patients’ Council was consulted on this and we agreed with the OT that gardening equipment and raised flower beds/planters would be a priority as this comes up a lot during meetings. Electronic devices for better communication between patients and family and friends, or care coordinators who cannot come to the ward, was identified as another area that could benefit from funding. Paints and brushes to do a mural and card making supplies were also mentioned. General ‘successes’ include getting a smoking shelter installed in the quadrant area and expediting repairs on the OT kitchen and broken window in the recovery room. Turning the old smoking room into a gym is still on the list of planned jobs but with COVID this has been put on hold. We will pick this up again soon as things start to settle down. Having a permanent OT on the ward is a relatively new development and has so far been very positive, although again COVID has stopped us interacting with her as much as we could have. There is also good news in that the ward will be joining the Star Wards programme. We suggested this over 2 years ago so it’s progress although a little slow.
Due to lockdown rules we have been unable to hold Patients’ Council meetings in person on the ward so we are setting up an online service at the moment. This will take the form of Zoom/Skype sessions using a laptop in the recovery room on the ward which will allow us to have the volunteers taking part and keeping the confidential aspect of the meetings. Once lockdown is over we will look at continuing some of the online provision so that we can have more regular meetings and be available if somebody wants to pass on an issue outside of normal meeting times. One of the advantages of this is that some people might only be on the ward for a few days. Previously they may have missed the monthly meetings, but with online meetings available we will be able to capture more opinions and experiences.
Powys Patients’ Council is not currently meeting due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The mental health ward is continuing to run a regular timetable of activities including using Just Dance on the Wii, using yoga and relaxation videos online and making sure they follow the ‘Body Coach’ online videos for physical exercise. At the moment the outdoor area is having an outdoor smoking shelter built to comply with the forthcoming legislative changes around smoking in public places. They are planning some raised beds as well for the outdoor area and would love some advice from keen gardeners on how to do this. If you have any ideas please let me know by emailing owen.griffkin(at)pavo.org.uk
There’s a big change this month as we are changing the day of the Patients’ Council to Thursday starting this week. This is to make sure we are on the ward at the same time as the ward manager who has training on Wednesdays now. The last meeting at the end of October saw some issues raised about the Recovery Room being out of use due to a broken window. We passed on our concerns to the Estates department as this is a vital resource for people on the ward. We also had feedback about the quality of the bed linen which has also been forwarded to the relevant department. It was also noted that people there felt they were treated with care and comfort by the staff and access to an advocate was available and easy. It was brought to our attention that certain information sheets were mentioned in the ‘Welcome Pack’ that aren’t available any more so we will look at getting this updated, and we are working with the ward and the Particpation Officer for the Mental Health Partnership Board on this.
We experimented with a new format for the meeting this month, and also a new venue, as the recovery room was temporarily out of action. This meant we sat in the main common space which led to more group discussions. The tray of cupcakes helped as well! The recovery room being out of action was one issue raised, and this is hopefully in hand and back in use by now. We had requests around WiFi connection and access to devices so we will be looking at how this develops.The health board has a strong firewall, as you would expect from a large organisation that is reliant on IT, and this can cause restrictions to content that people on the ward can access. Maybe as mobile WiFi becomes more advanced we can look at an independent network. Another issue was a request for bird feeders out in the front. We had added some with the help of the League of Friends committee at Bronllys so we were surprised to hear they had gone. We were told this was due to concerns from previous patients about vermin, so we are researching a solution to this age-old problem.The was also concerns about the set times for smoking ( currently 15 minutes every hour) and the response was that this is due to health and safety and staffing issues. We will have to monitor if this will change once the new indoor smoking ban comes into being and how smoking breaks will work then. There were two other maintenance issues raised, one of which was being fixed as we left, which is a quick turnaround. The Occupational Therapy kitchen issues, which had led to it being out of use for a few months have been fixed. We will be back for the next Patients’ COuncil at the end of October, when there is likely to be a new Occupation Therapist in position on a permanent basis. We hope this role will mean that there is a quality programme of activities on the ward and will help to support this in any way that we can.
The main issues at the latest Patients’ Council were mostly around noise from doors, and the kitchen currently being out of use to patients due to a leak. This is a problem as the kitchen is a source of many of the activities for patients, and is vital in assessing people’s independence throughout their recovery. We will be sending these points to the relevant departments and will post any actions here. The next Patients’ Council meeting will be on the 21st August and we are going to change the way we run the meetings. At the moment myself and the two volunteers, Rhyd and John, will sit in the recovery room and wait for people to come in and discuss their issues on an individual basis. In the future, we feel that it might be conducive to make meetings more like a group forum so that we can actively discuss people’s experience on the ward and get a consensus. At the end of the group session we will stay around if anyone has private topics they want to discuss. We will also be bringing lots of cake! I also had a meeting with Kirsten Davidson (Professional Lead for Occupation Therapy Mental Health) and Bethan Stallard (Occupational Therapy Support Worker) to discuss what we want to focus on in regards to activities on the ward. The priorities will be gym equipment, arts and crafts, music classes and yoga and wellbeing exercises, and we will be making sure we ask people on the ward for their ideas as we plan this. We were also discussing how people with lived experience, especially experience of staying on the Felindre Ward, can be really useful for people who might be there now, or in the future. If you would like to get involved in this, please get in touch with us by emailing owen.griffkin(at)pavo.org.uk or ringing 01597 822191.
Patients’ Council has continued to provide a monthly listening/feedback service for people currently staying on the Felindre Ward at Bronllys Hospital. We recently said goodbye to the Ward Manager, Lisa Hale, and we wish her all the best in her new role and thank her for her help in ensuring patient voice is listened to. The new Ward Manager is Carol Woodhouse, who has previously worked on the ward, which has made the transition easier. We had some really good ideas for activities on the ward, including graded walking activities, knitting, cycling and even visits from animals. We have discussed the issue of vaping or eCigarettes with people on the ward and staff and will continue to look at this issue, especially with a potential ban on smoking on the ward. We also had concerns raised about a disparity between staff members when it came to stipulated return times given to people, and this will be looked at in a staff meeting. The next patients’ council will be on June 26th.
Yoga classes have begun regularly on the Felindre Ward at Bronllys Hospital thanks to the Patients’ Council. Monday 1 April saw the first session led by Pete and Cori from Wye Valley Iyengar Yoga which was attended by staff members and people staying on the ward. The feedback was great, and the sessions will be continuing weekly. The sessions came about after suggestions at a few Patients’ Council meetings to have a yoga session to help with mindfulness, wellbeing and physical health, and we found out about the Iyengar Yoga Development Fund. This fund was set up to fund teachers to work with people who would not normally be able to afford or access yoga classes and would benefit a great deal from the positive outcomes of regular yoga practice. The bid was successful and there will now be a yoga workshop every Monday, to hopefully get people’s weeks off to a good start. We will be visiting one of the sessions soon to chat to Pete from Wye Valley Iyengar Yoga and Millie, who is the Occupational Therapist on the ward, to find out how it is benefitting people on the ward.
Unfortunately January’s Patients’ Council meeting was a victim of the weather so we had to postpone but we continue to work with the staff at Felindre Ward to explore new possibilities for activities for people staying on the ward including looking into weekly yoga sessions with a local practitioner. We have submitted a bid for 100% funding of this. We have also set up a working group to research the practicalities of installing some gym equipment within the building exclusively for patient use. We will be back on the ward again this month with the next session scheduled for 20th February.
The Mental Health Regional Planning and Development Partnership is about to submit its annual report, and the Felindre Ward Patients’ Council was asked to summarise their activity for the year. It’s a good opportunity for us to take stock of what has been achieved and share this publicly. The Patients’ Council has continued on Felindre Ward at Bronllys with monthly meetings attended by two volunteers, John and Rhydian. Activities have been the main issue of concern brought up by patients on the ward, and as a result we are currently exploring the possibility of regular yoga sessions, an on-site gym and working with the new Occupational Therapist on creative opportunities involving external practitioners. The council were involved in a ‘tidy-up’ of the veterans’ garden next to the ward before a Remembrance Service and hopefully there will be opportunities for patients to continue to assist with the upkeep of this area. There was a meeting with the Citizens Advice Bureau to look at establishing regular surgeries on the ward to assist with patients’ benefit and financial concerns and the council consulted on the Welsh Government’s Smoke-free premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2018. Finally the council suggested having bird feeders installed outside the windows, and the Bronllys League of Friends has agreed to fund this. There is a Christmas party on December 12th on the ward which we are looking forward to attending, with lots of nice party food prepared by patients.
What an interesting summer that was in Powys as we veered from a heatwave, straight into the wet August that seems to be the norm here nowadays. We held two meetings since the last update, in July and August and maybe the weather had something to do with the issues raised at the Patients’ Council meetings as activities were high on the list again. Patients would like to see more outdoor activities, with gardening mentioned as a possibility and hopefully this is something we can work on and put in place for next growing season. There are a number of gardens on the site at Bronllys and we have already looked at ways of involving patients in the upkeep of these in the future. Another good idea was a bird feeder in the vicinity of the ward, which I think would be great. Maybe patients could help make one as a project. Somebody raised the viewpoint that it is sometimes hard to have integration between ages and sexes on the ward, as different attitudes and opinions can sometimes clash. Tolerance and empathy can be difficult enough when you are at your best, so when you are in crisis on a mental health ward it can amplify differences even more. I think the ‘quiet room’ on the ward helps as it gives patients a chance to spend time in a place that is away from others. We always get positive comments about the staff and the food at Patients’ Council, which continued at these meetings. Finally, at the July meeting, we met with Stuart Chadbourne, from Powys Citizens’ Advice Bureau, to discuss ways of getting patients access to CAB services. This is vital to ensure we can allay any fears about finances and benefits whilst people are on the ward. Once this is up and running we will write a further blog detailing how this is working. The next Patients’ Council is on October 24th.
It was a sweltering day for June’s Patients’ Council meeting and the ward was close to capacity. This was the first Patients’ Council session since we had left a suggestion box on the ward, so there were more issues than usual to deal with. Having the suggestion box means we can address issues or concerns that we might have previously missed from people who have had short stays on the ward. It can also follow that these might have been dealt with already, as was the case with a note about the heating being on in rooms at night. Another note praised the caring environment and professional staff which the Patients’ Council were pleased to pass on to the new permanent Ward Manager, Lisa Hale…. Read more here.
This was a very quiet meeting, as the ward wasn’t very busy this week. We spoke about the anxiety felt by existing patients when a new patient comes in. This might be a good topic to look at in future meetings with more attendees as it can be unsettling. A new patient did arrive, and you could see the short-term effect it had on the ward. Jane Cooke had a meeting with the ward manager before the Patients Council meeting and she mentioned that they had been looking into implementing Star Wards on the ward. This is a programme run by the charity Bright which provides 75 ideas and examples for mental health staff to help patients make the best use of their time whilst on a ward. A lot of the examples have been brought up as issues in previous Patient’s council meetings, e.g. access to computers, wifi, gym equipment, entertainment. This is really encouraging and hopefully the ward will be signing up soon.
A regular topic at our meetings is the level of activity on the ward, and whilst we heard from some people that time can pass slowly at Felindre Ward, in recent times the Occupational Therapists have introduced a system whereby the patients themselves can choose activities two afternoons each week. We have also been asked to see what people think of the idea of having staff uniforms on the ward, so that they always stand out and are instantly recognisable. We’re also investigating a proposal, now that wifi is fully up and running, for some ward owned tablets to be acquired. We think it would help patients without their own devices to stay connected.
Whilst work is being completed on the outdoor space, along with the section 136 unit being added to the ward, there are some odd jobs that can be done. This week a couple of patients helped to paint a bench outside, and there is talk of a mural to cover the new and enormous fence. There will be patient involvement on this. One of the patients talked about having a broken CD player, but that they wanted to hear music on the ward. We’re suggesting that some sort of stereo equipment be acquired. A recent development on the ward is that mindfulness is being offered on a weekly basis, led by a member of staff.
Gardening has begun as an activity for patients, and this month we heard about a trip to the garden centre to choose plants and tools. This is a welcome activity in the summer, and as we have mentioned before, one of the challenges for patients is to try and fill the day in a meaningful way. There are a number of things that can be done, and one patient who we met was keen on both art and writing. This month we’re also looking at making links for patients who are able to visit local groups to pursue their hobbies.
For quite some time we’ve been looking at ways to support the request for more things to do on the ward. The task of providing a meaningful day alongside safety and security is a difficult one, and this month’s session brought us into contact with some patients who had taken to following yoga classes on Youtube – which is a solution we like. Another positive piece of news is that although we had more requests for proper talking therapy on the ward, it has developed very recently that a member of staff who is trained in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is now running a group once per week – exclusively for in-patients. Finally, the ward will be managed by Powys Teaching Health Board from June 1st onwards.
We had a relatively quiet meeting this month with just a couple of patients – and as it happens there was a good level of content with ward food and other details of daily life on the ward. To explain the situation briefly, one of the patients was suffering from psychosis and had been given anti-psychotics. They described the feeling of these drugs as ‘a deadening one’, but still had a very good level of spark and vitality, and they interacted with us keenly. The anti-ligature work in the garden has commenced, and this means that not only can a smoking area be placed outside now, but that the space freed inside can be used for gym equipment. Also, and importantly, gardening can become an activity for patients before too long.
Our regular meeting with patients at Felindre Ward this month involved patients who spoke about a small matter, but one that raised the issue of which rules on the ward are set in stone and which are subject to staff discretion. To explain, we were discussing being allowed to smoke after lunch, and this can be subject to staff availability and whether people have finished eating. Another matter that was on the same theme was the issue of what people who struggle to sleep can do at night time. In one’s own home, a person has the option of getting out of bed – but on the ward this is generally not the done thing. However, as our own former patients advised, there was usually a common sense approach taken by night staff provided nobody else was disturbed. Finally, our patients this month spoke of having no money or possessions on admission, and the suggestion was raised that small loans are available at this stage. This is being discussed.
Some of the issues we talked about this month included the suggestion that a store of spare clothes should be kept on the ward for visitors who perhaps come in at short notice, or who are waiting for their own clothes to arrive. We also talked about the requirements for access to a ‘normal’ doctor on the ward, as sometimes there are concerns over the physical health of patients. There will soon be a new system where possessions belonging to patients are recorded to avoid any loss or confusion. Two of our other concerns at the moment include the level of activity on the ward and the level of one to one time with staff. The current ward manager explained to us that on shift staff are allocated to particular patients so that people can have that one to one connection.
The patients we met this month talked to us openly about their time in hospital and the challenges of being sufficiently stimulated whilst there. One person mentioned that smoking and sleeping were two important aspects for them, as despite the best efforts of the two Occupational Therapists there is still lots of down-time to fill. There is a Community Walk in Brecon which some patients attend, and this seems popular – as does the regular pottery workshop. The on ward internet access is now good and reliable. This month also saw a visit to the ward from various health board officials accompanying Eluned Morgan AM, and we also had the chance to talk about our work with these guests.
In recent times the patients who we’ve met have been relatively vocal and positive about their time on the ward. We had a slightly different meeting this month, with some quieter patients who were curious as to what we had to offer. Trying to nurture a person’s voice at a low point in their lives is no easy task. We spoke to the ward manager about how quiet the patients had been – and how unusual this was. When we talked further, we were reminded of how the hope was that the ward will be quiet over Christmas – with people able to be treated at home whenever possible. No predictions are being made however, and the ward is preparing a party for in-patients next week which we are pleased to be going along to.
This month’s feedback was almost entirely positive and we had a meeting during which we were completely blown away by the strength of character of the current in-patients. If lived experience was worth money, they’d all be billionaires. Some of the good things we heard about on the ward was a feeling of absolute safety and a good level of camaraderie amongst patients. In terms of activity level on the ward we heard of encouraging efforts from staff to facilitate activities and a strong patient led drive to organise board games, art sessions or ping-pong tournaments. The fact that there’s a talented pianist staying at present means that sing-a-longs have become a regular feature of the music room and anyone who doesn’t participate is generally there to listen along.The break from normality and a place of suffering can inspire people to make new plans for the future. We were also able to take part in a good level of informal work and participation on the ward today, and we heard first hand of how even wealthy people with large houses and fancy cars can suffer extreme levels of distress. It is worth noting that the ward no longer conducts ward rounds with large numbers of staff discussing one patient in front of them. This is now conducted on a one-to-one basis, although support in completing a pro-forma prior to this is still available. Finally, we were once more impressed with the attitude of the new ward manager Lisa Hale and are content that we can all work well together.
Talking through similar issues with new people at each of our meetings helps us provide some structure with which to guide patients towards expressing what’s on their mind – to help them raise their voice.The trigger at this month’s meeting for a patient to request an advocate, and after we had explained the service, was a joke made by another patient. It seemed to bring a realisation of something, some new direction or purpose. Amongst our group this month were some visitors from a busy ward in Pontypool, who seemed to like Felindre. We heard some good comments and some praise for staff listening skills, with further good comments too about the kitchen activity with the new Occupational Therapist. There is a new acting Ward Manager, who we met with, and we were once more reassured by the energy and enthusiasm of the person in that role and we look forward to working together over the coming months.
This month’s report is by Carla Rosenthal: We had a lively Patient’s Council meeting in September which prompted a patient to remark on the need for physical activities to be available on the ward. Although there is a list of equipment that can be used to organise outside games, some patients on observation cannot go out due to staff constraints. This highlighted the benefit of having a safe and secure outdoor area that enables patients to be able to move freely outside without the requirement of having a member of staff present. Plans are afoot to convert the space behind the ward (currently underused) to a patients’ garden which can be designed, maintained and enjoyed by anyone staying on Felindre Ward. The garden area will have a smoking hut thereby freeing up the internal smoking room which will then be converted into a gym for patient use. Patients’ Council are pushing forward these plans and hope to be able to report positive news soon. Television viewing is a common issue that arises and at this meeting the possibility of having a booking system for patients to choose a particular programme to watch, was brought up. The possibility of having Film Nights was also talked about. There is a need to make it clear that there are laptops available to borrow and DVDs can be watched in the privacy of a patient’s room if requested. A sign will go up on the notice board alerting patients to all the resources available. The new Occupational Therapist is doing a grand job organising activities throughout the day and also for the evening after he has left the hospital. His enthusiasm and positivity in encouraging everyone to have a meaningful and enjoyable stay whilst in Bronllys has been praised by staff and patients. Hopefully, in the near future, music therapy activities will also be available. Details will be released as soon as there is confirmation. Not everyone is aware that they can request the support of an Independent Mental Health Advocate who can assist and advise in a range of issues. Again, this service will be advertised in greater detail on the ward notice board. If any patient who has been released from hospital would like to have a say in how mental health services are run in Powys, please contact PAVO’s Mental Health Team to find out what participation opportunities are available.
We had a very positive session this month, where the voice and ideas of patients was celebrated. We also heard some positive feedback about nurses and the occupational therapists – and in fact there’s a new OT who is very receptive to planning more evening activities. One of the patients asked if we could start a compost heap, and we hope that between us all this will happen soon. It would be great to be able to respond quickly to patients, as some changes on the ward take time to achieve – for example the new gym and the garden we hope to create together one day. We had some more private issues raised, and we were reminded once more of the need to explain things as much as needed to new visitors on the ward. Our colleague Carla Rosenthal suggested we create a ‘Did you know?’ wall in the recovery room with useful tips.
The ward is currently fairly quiet, but we held our meeting and had a few discussions with some patients. One of these patients is a young person who we have seen several times, and they’re now preparing for a new start in a new location and can be seen as full of happiness and positive expectations for life once more. Another person who we met is struggling with being sectioned and with life on the ward. We tried to empathise, and the volunteers spoke about similar feelings that they’d had when they were on the ward. Needless to say the specifics of the situation are being dealt with by an advocate for that patient, and there will be a tribunal in this instance. One issue which is very important that was raised today is what to do when a person wants to practice their religion on the ward. We heard that a religious community had made contact with a specific patient with firm beliefs and practices, and that there was some scope for continuing the fellowship that they had been used to. Finally, we were blown away with the enthusiasm and positivity which came from the new ward manager Lauren Edwards, herself a qualified Dialectical Behaviour Therapist. We really look forward to working together following the good progress under her predecessors Penny Price and Richard Rudge.
As an extra task this month our lead volunteer Rhydian Parry has compiled a list of CDs, DVDs and games equipment held by the ward – useful as a guide for patients who are looking for entertainment. We are very grateful to people who donated DVDs and CDs to the ward and now there is a list of what’s on offer. Our regular meeting was a very positive one and contained a lot of praise for the environment at Felindre, which we passed on to ward management. We heard about nightly scrabble games and table tennis, and the joys of pottery each week. What has also been praised is the camaraderie amongst patients who look out for one another during their stay. Although there have been several discharges this week we also heard an interesting perspective from someone who was really glad of the peace and quiet of the ward and the chance for a rest from their family, whilst they connected with other patients on the ward.
After starting with a discussion of the possible benefits of e-cigarettes in an environment where many people smoke we had a thorough session this month which covered some old and new issues. There was excitement at the forthcoming kitchen activity which is new to the ward, and some praise for the atmosphere on the ward once more. It was mentioned that some of the patients had been playing a lot of card and board games, which is a good sign, and we heard about a game of boules outside when the weather was good. There are one or two areas where it can be useful for patients to ask staff if they need something – for example going outside in the fresh air when the doors may be locked – or having an extra cup of tea in between tea-times. Talking through life on the ward helps us to clarify the good and less good aspects of life there, and in turn our experts by experience (who have spent time there themselves) can pass on some tips..
As our lead volunteer Rhydian Parry said on the way home “…today was a good day for Patients’ Council.” We met with some lovely patients who spoke cheerfully and honestly about their time on the ward, including both what they liked and what they didn’t like so much. We heard about some key issues regarding access to Doctors on the ward and the availability of Community Psychiatric Nurses for ward rounds. Our meeting with the Ward Manager was supported this month by Senior Nurse and former Ward Manager Penny Price, along with Carla Rosenthal (who is covering as PAVO’s Participation Officer). There was a superb atmosphere in the room and we discussed the possibility of converting some outdoor space into a beautiful garden – perhaps with community involvement and certainly with patients involved. We’re pleased that a new Occupational Therapist will soon commence on the ward and from our end we will also be working hard again before our next visit to refine two separate funding bids – watch this space for updates and hopefully some positive news later this year.
We met with some patients today and explored a few individual and a few general issues as best we could. Some of the stresses of being an in-patient were discussed again, and our sympathetic ears and open minds, together with the experience of being on the ward that our volunteers bring, seemed to be very helpful. When ward rounds happen, there is a pro-forma – or a form on which patients can write things down regarding their wishes for treatment. We discussed how this works with people today, and had a further chat about a consultant who had that day offered only a very short appointment to a patient. We think, partly from our own experiences, that writing things down before seeing a doctor or psychiatrist is a useful tool to keep the things you know are important at the forefront of your mind and firmly on the agenda for discussion. Some of what we talked about today was specific to one or two individuals so remains in confidence, but we were also glad that we were able to offer that supportive ear to people whilst gathering our usual few items of essential feedback for ward management. To give one example of feedback this month, we asked that staff continue to be encouraged to help patients in completing the ward round pro-forma.
There are quite a few patients on the ward at present, but we are happy to report that they are as content as can be expected. Our meeting this month was a fairly quiet one. We delivered the first installment of CDs and DVDs for the recovery room and after a brief meeting we had to also content ourselves that we had been available to other patients if they had also had something to say. Admin time is useful, and we are looking ahead to a future meeting with almost the entire Psychology team from the health board next month to discuss our plan to bring more therapeutic work on to the ward. We can’t say too much about that at present but we are optimistic that we will be permitted to seek charitable funding for work to commence on an extended trial period basis. The other news we have for you is that we are looking to begin dialogues above ward management level to finally sort out the lack of internet issue on the ward. We know that this connection with the outside world is vital for some people to maintain contact with friends and loved ones, to educate themselves on their condition and the medications they are being given, to keep up to date with benefit, housing and employment information, to entertain themselves with music and video, and for many other reasons. We hope that a filtered wi-fi service can be brought to the ward without too much delay as the issue has been raised time and time again by our patients and we now have a duty to act purposefully on this.
At our New Year’s meeting some of our patients talked about wanting to hear more music on the ward. Some of them had been present at the Christmas party last year where a small ensemble played beautifully for staff and patients. We also talked about what a difference internet access on the ward would make to in-patients, but this is sadly yet to be rolled out on the ward. Related to this, some patients reported that they would like more newspapers to be available for them to know what is going on around them as they contemplate the difficult process of recovery. With this in mind we phoned round all the businesses in Talgarth and thanks to the goodwill of Glanenig House Care Home their entire batch of Sunday papers will be donated to our ward each Monday. We did hear about another very positive situation this month where staff had made a good work-around for the lack of specialist benefits advice on the ward and we would like to commend them for this. Finally in our round up for January, we had a sensitive discussion with patients and the ward manager about the attitude of busy staff in their daily verbal interactions with patients. I am yet to meet a patient at Felindre Ward who I do not understand or who I have ever had to ask to repeat themselves, but the comment we fielded was that often staff ask people to repeat what they have said, and that this can seem demeaning. We have raised the issue and we have ensured that this indiscretion, although unintended, can act as a reminder to anyone who comes into contact with patients that they must interact with them as equal subjects.
Felindre Ward at present is very quiet, with only a handful of in-patients. Our usual session wasn’t really required, but we did get to have another conversation with the new Ward Manager, Richard Rudge, who’s been promoted from the Home Treatment team. As much of our work is ongoing, we met with Jane Cooke (PAVO Mental Health Team Manager) to develop our plan to increase the level of activities offered on the ward. This has been a recurring theme in our meetings for some time now and we hear of the problem from other Patients Councils too. Our plan is to bring in activity leaders from the voluntary sector, possibly from beyond, and to achieve this we are reaching out to partner organisations to discuss our capacity to hopefully run several small projects that help bring increased meaning and enjoyment to the days of in-patients. Our funding fate is uncertain but we believe that we can put together a very strong case to bring a large number of tangible benefits from a little bit of money. We look forward to speaking to some of you about this in the near future- and please, get in touch with the Mental Health Team at PAVO if you already think you’d have something to offer. If you’re curious but aren’t quite sure why you’d want to – then all I’d say to you is that if my role has highlighted one central thing to me so far it would be this: it’s a huge privilege to spend time with people on that ward.
This month we had a good turnout for our meeting with patients. The mood in the room was overtly positive, which made for a pleasant discussion in general. We talked about a number of on ward and more general issues – the on ward issues being to do with how to peacefully ensure people can all watch things they want on television and another one to do with use of the games room for meetings by staff. We also had a really in depth chat about the attitude of some psychiatrists – and whether they realise that they can seem a bit high and mighty in relation to their patients. In any case we gathered feedback on many issues again this month and we’re also pleased that we made sure that staff who are involved in sectioning people are reminded of what it’s like to be on the other end of this process too.
To give you a taste of this month’s meeting – it could be described as difficult and emotional but ultimately purposeful. Guided by our lead volunteer our listening skills were fully employed and in our capacity as representatives we empathised with a small selection of patients – chipping in with helpful comments wherever we felt we could. At a practical level the issues varied slightly this month, talking about relationships with staff (including special or favourite nurses) and we also aired a topic which may not seem obviously important to everyone. It is to do with cleaners being aware that moving things in a person’s own room – even just to clean the space underneath- can seem intrusive if you are currently feeling vulnerable. Of course, we also listened at length to the underlying feelings present there- of what it’s like to be kept away from your home, your friends and loved ones, and the frustrations of just wanting to be allowed to leave. In terms of our other achievements this month, we delivered two large boxes of used books to the Recovery Room which were generously donated by Builth Wells Community Support. We also brought in new posters advertising our regular presence for staff and patients. Finally, despite learning of a funding ‘brick wall’ with regards to getting benefits advice back onto the ward we have made provisions to raise awareness of the vital role Powys Citizens Advice can play in assisting with benefit claims for people from all walks of life.
At this month’s Patients’ Council we had some new perspectives on some familiar themes. It has to be said that one of the patients who joined us this month is one of the most eloquent and well spoken people I’ve ever met. Food and activity levels were the main topics of conversation, and although it was said that the food is better than on most other wards, people long for variety during their stay. As far as activities go, Rhydian Parry, John Lilley and myself who host Patients’ Council are keen to make progress on the difficulties faced by patients and staff with limited time in getting enough activity on the ward. We discussed having a second television set for peak hours, the possibilIty of more art and craft tutoring (so that people could spend their free time progressing with these skills) and also, from outside the ward, we’re now actively pursuing a donation of used books to further fill the shelves of the Patients’ Council Recovery Room. We hope to have some good news for you next month, in the meantime I would like to take the chance to thank Rhydian and John for welcoming me to their team over these past few months and wish to commend them for their ongoing and tireless work as volunteers – as in truth it makes my role far easier…
Our last two Patients’ Council meetings have involved a variety of themes and some very interesting discussions. One thing that has stood out is how positive in general the feedback on the experience at Felindre Ward has been in comparison to other wards in other areas. We again discussed issues such as food and activity levels and asked people what they thought of plans to install a gym in the current smoking area – which most people like the sound of. Some people have been more content in general than others, and we have liased with staff over the situation for those with specific dietary needs. As it turns out, the catering will be provided from elsewhere soon. We are also chasing up the availability of benefits advice for patients – particularly for those who stay longer term, and hope to make progress on this soon.
Some matters that were discussed in June included the procedure for patients to comment on ward meals. Also, there were some discussions around the proposal to turn the current smoking room into a gym therefore allowing the chance for more physical activity – which itself has increased with the work of occupational therapists. We were told that advocates are now on the ward less often, which is disappointing. Also, some of the practicalities of having full but filtered internet access on the ward were talked about.