OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA#CuppaCare is a simple concept that costs nothing to implement, is able to be taken on by anybody, whilst truly focusing on patient centred care.

Promotion of permission to actually sit and take five minutes to have a 'cuppa' with a patient is something that I have witnessed to be somewhat of a grey area. Many reasons are given for not allowing staff to drink tea with their patients, from we are not allowed to because it looks lazy, because we can't have drinks on the ward, because it isn't professional, or we can but not at visiting time.

The benefits of having a cuppa together are vast and they are supported by a whole host of research that says that taking time to have a drink with a patient in a familiar manner, that is socially acceptable, welcoming, homely and routine, allows for enhanced outcomes and a better patient experience.

Why spend five minutes having a quick drink behind a door out of sight, whilst learning nothing of your patient, when that exact same time could be taken by sharing a drink with your patient, allowing for a more person-centred, individualised approach? Sharing a drink together allows respect and trust to be developed, encourages the patient to open up to nursing staff, whilst also instilling a sense of value and worth.

Patients are more likely to drink when they are engaged and feel comfortable, therefore having a cuppa together allows for hydration needs to be improved. Compliance and willingness to try new ideas are negatively affected when people feel lonely, isolated and vulnerable. Mood is improved through interaction and by siting and talking. Whilst drinking a cup of tea and talking, we can show compassion and connect more. The argument of 'we don't have the time' is swamped by the examples of time saved following such a simple act, and the benefits that are gained.

Matron Glyn Wildman, Demenitia Lead at Chesterfield Royal Hospital has championed 'Stick Kettle on' for a while now. Matron Wildman said "Having a cuppa with our patients is something which has been supported and discussed within our dementia training over the last two years. We will continue to promote this sensible person centred approach to care within our qualified dementia training also. I am pleased it is getting senior backing at Chesterfield Royal Hospital".

#CuppaCare will aim to tackle the traditional idea for staff to 'go and grab a drink, whilst it’s quiet and nobody is watching', and make it acceptable for everyone – including nurses, consultants and patients – to take the time to have a refreshing drink.

What is the first thing most staff do when they get home after shift? What is reached for or offered when in a home environment? What is used to celebrate good news, comfort bad news, share a moment? What is the recurring theme from patients when asked what they looking forward to the most when home, etc? 'Stick kettle on, let's have a cuppa.'

Staff are being encouraged to show their support for #CuppaCare by posting their pics on twitter, to show that they support permission to brew!
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