November 7 2019
The family-orientated therapeutic programme, led by the healthcare team at HMP Brinsford, has been named as the winner of the Nursing Times Enhancing Patient Dignity category.
Health in Justice team has created a support system in the prison’s inpatient unit where prisoners with mental and physical health issues are treated.
Head of Healthcare and Regional Safeguarding Lead James Hendy said: “We were delighted when the judges announced we had won. Our greatest prize is seeing patients re-united with their friends and family and looking forward to a happy and healthy future.
“Patients are at the heart of everything we do, and we were increasingly concerned that young people weren’t always engaging with staff or in their own wellbeing. Prolonged periods in cells can create isolation: that is not good for people living with mental health issues, and it does not help them prepare for their release.
“We wanted to improve the dignity of young people in custody by creating a therapeutic environment where they could feel free and safe to talk to staff, fellow patients and their families.”
The team updated the unit, which is based in an old building, replacing the lighting and refurbishing their rooms so they could feel pride in their living conditions, encouraging them to keep the area clean and teaching them basic life skills.
A new group work programme was designed involving LGBT+ and mental health support groups, Samaritans and healthcare forums. This has resulted in more collaborative working between agencies and also gives the young people purposeful activity and reasons to leave their rooms.
James said: “As well as the hard work of the team, this was made possible thanks to our innovative commissioners at NHS England who provided some funding for us to set about transforming the family room, creating a calm atmosphere with comfortable seating.
“The chances of recovery for patients is significantly increased when loved ones are involved in planning and supporting care. Having a home and family to return to on release is also very important if rehabilitation is to be achieved.
“It benefits not just the families but also the communities they come from. These are teenagers who have many issues and who made a mistake. If we can help them recover, and if we can support their loved ones to carry on that work, then they have a bright future where they can contribute to society.”