MPFT presented with top award for innovative work to promote the physical wellbeing of patients page thumbnail

The outstanding efforts of Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) staff to create innovative and fun ways to promote physical activity for patients and service users has been recognised with a national award.

The Trust has been awarded the Recondition the Nation Platinum Award by NHS England (NHSE). Recondition the Nation seeks to reduce the loss of a person’s physical, psychological and functional capacity due to inactivity, otherwise known as ‘deconditioning’.

MPFT is one of only five trusts in the region to have been bestowed the honour and received the award from NHSE’s Roz Young, Assistant Director of Nursing and Quality; and David Williams, Regional Clinical Leadership Fellow and lead of the Reconditioning the Nation project in the Midlands.

The award recognises colleagues’ contributions to the National Reconditioning Games, which enable organisations to demonstrate the creative ways in which they promote physical activity and functional and emotional wellbeing. MPFT has been awarded seven games medals, with three at gold level.

However, it was the excellent work taking place on the older adult mental health inpatient wards at St. George’s Hospital in Stafford that really put MPFT in the spotlight. Occupational Therapy (OT) Assistant Eliska Evans and Senior OT Rebecca Noblett led a pioneering project, supported by Activity Co-ordinator Cheryl Dring and Senior OT Matthew Hocking to address the rapid deconditioning of patients, often seen following admission to inpatient services, due to change of routine and unfamiliar environments.

To optimise the opportunity for patients to maintain independence and skills, the OT team facilitate sessions three times a week, encouraging patients to prepare their own lunch in the ward kitchen. Patients help to set up, prepare food and purchase ingredients. Those who do not wish to attend are given ingredients, laid out on a tray for them to prepare independently in their room.

The team are hoping to increase sessions to seven days a week and extend the project across more areas. Eliska, Rebecca and Matthew were invited to give a presentation about their inspiring work at a regional reconditioning learning event earlier this year.

Furthermore, a successful pilot which has seen older adult ward patients attending activity sessions with a local nursery has also become a regular fixture in recognition of the benefit it brings to the patients and children.

Rebecca said: “In order to combat deconditioning in our patients, we wanted to enhance the existing activity programmes to increase patient opportunity to maintain skills and create an enabling culture in the ward environment. We set out to encourage patients to follow daily routines, and the implementation of facilitated lunchtime sessions allowed us to offer a combined healthy eating and physical activity programme.

“The sessions help to provide choice, promoting and maintaining cognitive, physical and fine motor skills, and social engagement. We were delighted to see the patients engaging in the sessions with enthusiasm and look forward to extending the programme further.”

Liz Lockett, MPFT’s Chief Nurse and Director of Quality and Professional Leadership, added: “I’d like to offer my thanks and congratulations to everyone who has contributed to the work that has taken place across the Trust in this area.

“It’s so important that professionals are mindful of deconditioning and that best practice is shared. It’s been great to see so many of our teams and services getting involved in this initiative, coming up with enjoyable and inventive ways to combat deconditioning for their patients and promoting independence.”

The MPFT Podcast features a special episode with Eliska Evans and Rebecca Noblett talking about the innovative work they and other Trust teams do to support patients and how this has led to the Recondition the Nation Platinum Award win. Listen to the episode here.