Our Care of the Elderly team on Cherry Ward have started a new initiative to get patients socialising over lunch.
Occupational Therapist Diana Sheridan explains: “Sitting at the table for meal times is part of most people’s normal everyday activity, but the ‘norm’ in hospital is often to eat your meals sitting in bed. For elderly patients who may be in hospital for some time, spending a lot of time in bed can result in ‘deconditioning’ - where they begin to lose their strength, mobility and confidence - ultimately, slowing down their return to independence.
Our new ward motto is ‘sit up, get dressed and keep moving’. Helping patients to sit at a table and eat together provides social interaction, which is psychologically beneficial. It also provides a purposeful opportunity for movement - whilst seeing a professional in uniform approach to ’practice walking’ can feel difficult and intimating for some patients, getting up to join others for a meal feels natural and normal, but uses the same skills.
We also hope that by making meal times more fun and engaging, patients will be encouraged to eat and drink more, which all helps with a return to good health. We want to do everything we can to get patients back on their feet and home to their usual surroundings as quickly as possible. I’d like to thank Occupational Health Assistant Myra Murphy for her hard work in getting this up and running. Feedback from patients and their relatives has been excellent and it’s proving very popular.”