By Tracey Smith, Senior Staff Nurse, Rick Mason, Recovery College Lead, and the service users of Hamilton Ward, Cheswold Park Hospital.
Our service users and staff on Hamilton Ward, one of our medium secure treatment wards, have been working together over the last few months to build a community, informed by therapeutic community guidelines, in order to aid recovery and create a space that is positive and welcoming. Service users have taken the lead in decorating the ward with photographs, posters and pieces of artwork that are meaningful to them.
As well as personalising the environment, service users are working with staff to create a timetable of meaningful activity that appeals to everyone, which runs over seven days so as to promote engagement over the weekend and on bank holidays. Through the regular community meetings, service users decide on what to do, including movie nights, breakfast clubs and more recently, a photography group where positive use of Section 17 Leave is encouraged.
“The ward is relaxing and good and I like it.”
D: Service User
One of the most popular initiatives is the “round the world supper club”. Each service user and staff have picked a country that starts with the first letter of their name, and each week, the ward will work together to create a communal meal with recipes from one of the countries! It has been a great way to not only explore different meals and develop core skills such as cooking and food preparation but creates a sense of community and breaks down the staff/service user barriers.
Ultimately, the vibe on the ward is a positive one, and you can feel the sense of community the minute you walk through the doors. From the artwork on the walls, the cushions on the sofa which have been chosen by the service users and the smiles and relaxed expressions on everyone’s face, it’s fair to say that Hamilton Ward is creating a positive community feel for all.
“Its homely, relaxing and comfortable. I’m doing things I didn’t think I would, I really feel like I’m in a better place physically and emotionally. And enjoying all the activities on the ward. Staff are great and I feel safe with them.”
D: Service User
“It’s great and comfy and relaxed.”
B: Service User
Thank you for reading!