Ward rounds… ever been in one? How did you find it?
Research undertaken over the last 25 years on the experience of ward rounds within in-patient mental health in England has concluded that ward rounds are often significantly and repetitively negative experiences for patients, with a high percentage of those surveyed feeling intimidated by the process and some patients finding ward rounds uninformative or even a cause of anxiety or distress.
Patients are not alone in feeling dissatisfied with ward round practice in mental health. Professionals have also been found to be dissatisfied with the reality of ward rounds, perceiving an urgent need to leave old ways of working behind whilst feeling constrained by existing arrangements and unable to make positive change.
Certain factors affecting patient satisfaction with ward rounds have been highlighted, from the absence or missing of appointment times to ward rounds being overpopulated by staff through to a complete absence of patient involvement in decision-making around care and treatment. However, across the board, there appears to have been a clear gap in asking the open question of patients (as well as staff) as to how the ward round should be devised and managed from their point of view: or in other words, what does the ideal ward round look like to patients as well as those who provide care to them and how can this model be made standard practice in mental health services and result in better experiences?
We believe this is a worthy question and one that deserves attention, which is why advocacy charity POhWER, which delivers a range of information, advice and advocacy services known as Your Voice, Your Choice to people in Nottinghamshire, including those using mental health services, is working in partnership with the Trust’s Involvement Centre to co-ordinate a service review that is currently gaining the views of patients, carers and staff on ward round experiences and will soon be collating these views and working with patients, those with in-patient experience, carers and professionals towards a new model of ward round to be trialled and evaluated within Nottinghamshire HC NHS Foundation Trust.
We would really like to see change and a move towards best practice in ward rounds in mental health and are proud to be part of this inspiring new project owned, led and involving service users and ex-service users. If you feel the same and would be interested in participating in the review, from completing a questionnaire to being more involved in the project itself, please get in touch (on the blog or Tweet @InvolveT1)