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Innovative new approach comes under the spotlight

An innovative new approach which is ensuring that service users are fully involved in helping to shape the care delivered by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) came under the spotlight during a celebration event in Bury St Edmunds.

The day-long conference, which took place at the Athenaeum on Thursday, 27 June, focused on Experience Based Co-Design (EBCD), which enables staff and service users to work in equal partnership to jointly develop improvements.

It has been used by NSFT for the first time during a pilot project looking at reducing restrictive interventions on Northgate and Southgate Wards at Wedgwood House in Bury St Edmunds.

The project saw 12 patients and 12 staff interviewed about their experiences, feelings and emotions of restrictive interventions by using storytelling to identify key themes and opportunities for improvement. They are now working on four priorities as result, and spoke about the progress they have made so far. They are:

• Create a sensory room on the wards to provide a safe space where patients can self-manage when they are experiencing overwhelming and distressing emotions.

• Provide access to dogs/pets and co-produce a virtual tour of the ward so that patients and their families can get a sense of what the ward looks like before admission, helping manage any anxieties they may have.

• Provide welcoming yellow brick road information boards which include colourful and accessible information relevant to recovery, an individual’s time at Wedgwood House and life beyond illness.

• Arrange a reunion group where former patients and staff can share their experiences and any other ideas for change.

Tracey Holland, Professional Lead for Reducing Restrictive Interventions with NSFT, said: “We are really pleased with how successful this innovative project has been so far and are delighted to be given the chance to share our work with colleagues.

“This is the first time we’ve used the EBCD methodology at NSFT. Feedback from everyone who took part has been brilliant. Service users feel like they are on a level playing field with staff and have an equal voice, and have seen the project as a genuine opportunity to work together to improve services.

“The whole initiative has been so positive. We hope it will continue to have an impact in the future by further improving our safety culture on the wards and our approach to reducing restrictive interventions.”

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