On Scotter Ward we are always looking for innovative ways to get health promotion messages across to our patients. We would like to share one of them with you.

A few years ago our falls team came up with the idea of using mealtimes as a way to do this. The team wanted to get over the message of falls prevention and printed this on a piece of A4 paper and laminated it as a placemat for the patient tables in the dining room. The idea of our placemats was born.

Nutrition and hydration plays an important part in rehabilitation and we are very committed to ensuring that the patients receive the best care they can in this area. We have 5 food Champions Eleanor, Mel, Caroline, Jenny and Dan all of whom are trained to Level in Food Safety. We have protected mealtimes and all patients on Scotter Ward are actively encouraged as part of their rehabilitation to have mealtimes together in the ward dining area. This we find empowers social interaction and helps them build relationships with other patients and to maintain some normality and independence removing them from being the ‘patient at the bedside’

Over the years we have used the placemats to give out many messages on awareness weeks such as ‘stop the pressure week’ and antibiotic awareness week. We have also included the local community in the venture with the young carers group colouring in the ‘healthy eating plate’ and putting a personal message to the patients on it. At Christmas we have a Festive theme wishing the patients a Happy Christmas from all the staff. At other times we have vibrant pictures of flowers.

The feedback from the patients is extremely positive and the placemats are very often a source of conversation between them. It is a very simple inexpensive idea and any theme or picture can be used. We have shared this in our inpatient governance group and it has been adopted in the other community hospitals within Lincolnshire Community Health Services.

The staff canteen now share their own messages on placemats they now make. We have also shared pictures on our twitter site @scotterwardlchs and many other areas have adopted the idea which we think is absolutely fabulous.

Simple little things can make such a difference

About the Author:

Scotter Ward is a nurse led ward in a busy community hospital in Gainsborough which is part of Lincolnshire Community Health Services. We have just over 40 clinical and non clinical staff and have 23 beds 21 intermediate care and 2 palliative care. We are a team passionate about what we do and always strive to improve standards for our patients and staff

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