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Ashby to Ashby: Mental health ward team to walk 16 miles for patients

22 Mar 2019

A team of NHS ward staff from Leicester’s Bradgate Mental Health Unit will don walking boots on Saturday 30 March for a 16-mile walk raising funds to boost therapeutic activities for their patients.

The friends and colleagues from Ashby ward, who provide recovery-focused care for 21 acutely unwell men, hope to raise £2,000 by walking from historic Ashby Castle near Coalville to their ward on the Glenfield Hospital site on Saturday 30 March.

The team has set up a Just Giving page for donations and all money raised will be used to provide equipment for on-the-ward therapeutic activities for their patients that go above and beyond the core treatment provided by the service.

Ashby ward is one of seven acute wards at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s Bradgate Unit. Patients on the ward suffer from a variety of mental health conditions including schizophrenia, bi-polar and severe depression. The ward team includes mental health nurses, doctors, healthcare support workers, therapeutic liaison workers and therapists providing recovery-focused care.

A number of activities are provided as part of their treatment, including music groups, quizzes, yoga, sports activities, art sessions and bingo. But the team want to go the extra mile. 

The walk was the idea of therapeutic liaison worker Apexa Patel. She said: “We have quite a small budget for therapeutic activities and we’re able to supplement that through bids for charitable funds but we want to raise additional funds that will help us to increase the activities we provide on the ward.

“Some of the patients we care for are very unwell and meaningful, therapeutic activities can make all the difference to their recovery journey. Having activities readily available provides a distraction for any symptoms that individuals might be experiencing.

One of the team had the idea of creating a suggestion box and the patients can post suggestions for additional equipment and activities they would like us to include, such as DVDs and pool cues, prizes for treasure hunts and breakfast events which they really enjoy.

“We try to incorporate activities that are easily affordable for patients once they return home, as well as introducing them to potential new hobbies they can continue at home. For example educating patients on the health benefits of healthy eating from our tasty ‘sticks and dip’ activity. It gives patients a chance to try something new as well as providing an alternative healthy snack.”

Ward sister Saskya Falope said: “We know from the feedback we receive from our patients that they love these activity sessions. We listen to their views and act on them - for example, we have removed the nurses’ station in favour of a central table where staff and patients sit together and these changes have had a really positive impact on the ward environment, with a noticeable reduction in the number of incidents of acute distress or aggression.”