Reflections – Women’s Services at Rampton Hospital during lockdown

Patients and Staff at Rampton Hospital were asked to reflect on what life is like for them at the moment.  Amidst the national pandemic and how the government guidance as impacted on their day-to day life – all reflections have been anonymised for confidentiality reasons.  The reflections (written, poems and artwork) are being collated and will form part of a presentation for patients family members & friends who are currently unable to visit the hospital

I would normally work in the Diamond Resource Centre (DRC) in the Woman’s Service as a Technical Instructor (TI). At the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic I am working on night shift on the woman’s wards and I am awaiting to start on Nightingale Ward, if and when they start admitting patients to it; Nightingale Ward has been set up as our Covid-19 ward.

At first I was posted on Topaz Ward where I along with three other staff in the Therapy and Education Department (TED) were providing activities throughout the day and covering evenings and weekends.

The activities I personally organised were more of a social theme such as bingo, quizzes etc. …this was inclusive to all patients on the ward including the patient/s in segregation as it was hosted on bedroom corridor. Staff sat with segregation patients at the doors so that everybody had the chance to play along and get involved.

Throughout the day activities such as board games, card making and craft activities are provided but staff are restricted in what activities they can provide due to the tools and equipment that can be accessed.  The activities are often basic and could at times become a bit repetitive however other things like fresh air, basic garden activities and group games can be facilitated.

The patient numbers who got involved in the day activities varied dependant on their interest or enthusiasm however the evening bingo and social part appeared to be well received.  The wearing of PPE didn’t really affect any activities as social distancing could easily be maintained and activities were at staff’s discretion.   

The evening and weekend social sessions that I participated and organised were generally well received by patients and ward staff as a distraction from the daily limitation that we found ourselves under. Many long-term segregation patients have had a great input from TED staff throughout the day and this has been well received by the patients and freed up the ward staff who are generally busy with other daily tasks.

Myself and two other Therapeutic Instructors did a few sessions of ‘Compound Karaoke’ where we set up the karaoke machine outside and got as many patients as possible involved and singing from their ward gardens.  This was really well received by patients and staff and gave some light relief.  A bit of fun!

However there is a downside.  As I am now working on nights I have spoken to a few patients on the women’s wards and they have expressed frustrations when they have little to no input on an evening and weekends due to most staff working Monday to Friday 8.30-16.30.   It is a shame that the few staff who do out of hours work can’t spread their workload amongst all the other wards as only one female ward (Ruby Ward) now have these evening and weekend sessions.  It isn’t impossible to do this as nursing staff are working all over the hospital so cross contamination isn’t an issue. 

The women used to love spending time at DRC and I know this is currently missed by the patients.  We put on loads of various activities and fixed events that were really well populated by all the patients able to come along.  I believe that when the current situation is on a more regular or normal service the DRC and TED service will again be a great benefit to all patients although we will all be more aware of safer working practices and personal space issues.

Written by a technical Instructor from the Therapies and Education Department – 5th May 2020.

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