Sunniside Shines Bright

Posted on Wed, 29/08/2018

Another specialist unit at QE Gateshead has just been given a national award for the services it provides to older patients with mental health issues.

The unit has just been awarded a Full Monty Award by the Star Wards scheme which celebrates excellence in mental health care.

The Sunniside unit is an older person’s mental health inpatient and assessment unit, where patients come to receive treatment and support for a range of mental health problems including anxiety and depression. Most patients will be aged over 65 and are admitted during a crisis point in their lives.

Staff at Sunniside have implemented 75 Star Ward ideas or initiatives across 7 different categories including physical health, recreation, care planning and how they interact with visitors.

The Worshipful Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor Jill Green presented staff with their award at a special celebration event at the hospital which showcased some of their good work.

The unit won particular praise for the wide range of therapeutic events and activities that take place to support patients on the ward and across the hospital.

Rachel Johnson, an Occupational Therapist working with older patients at QE Gateshead said:

“Our activities coordinators have worked really hard at promoting things for patients to get involved with and have been keeping a real focus on artwork for the ward. They also have a project called ‘sunniside rocks’ for our soon- to-be revamped outdoor area, in which patients can leave specially designed rocks  in the garden with a positive message of hope for other patients.

“We have a weekly programme of activities which includes the evenings and weekends. These new ideas are actively led by patients through their own forum with the ‘knit and Natter group’  the latest project to emerge. We enable patients to identify activities they want to take part in and then support them to take part,” she adds.

The unit also displayed strong communications, good planning, meaningful activity, the right mix of staff and strong focus on wellness after discharge

Kelly Chequer, Nurse Consultant for Older Person’s Mental Health, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for staff on the unit and is great news for Gateshead, coming so soon after our team at Cragside received the same award. This is a double celebration for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and it really reflects their exceptional expertise and commitment to caring for our dementia patients.”

Star Wards, a project of the social justice charity Bright, provides practical and inspiring examples for mental health ward staff.

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