Patients are regaining their confidence by serving breakfast themselves on Burlington ward at Worthing Hospital, as part of a series of rehabilitative practices to combat the negative impact of long stays in hospital.
The neat breakfast bar located centrally in the ward, encourages patients to prepare and takeaway their breakfast independently, to support them leaving hospital.
Burlington, which opened in September 2022, is a medically ready for discharge ward and is completely nurse led. Whilst patients on this ward are not acutely unwell, they are still dependable and are waiting for care whether that be at home, or in a care facility.
To avoid these patients deconditioning – where lack of activity causes the patient to decline in health – the Burlington team are driving change by introducing practices around the ward to help rehabilitate patients as they await discharge.
On the ward, patients who have the right mobility are encouraged to use the dining table and chairs provided in each bay, so that they can have their meals together and move away from staying in their beds for long periods.
Not long after the table and chairs were introduced, the idea of patients getting their own breakfast was suggested and within 10 days the team had organised the breakfast bar.
The breakfast bar is made up of food and drink available from hospital catering, which is typically served via a trolley to each patient in their bed, and includes cereal, fruit, toast and more.
Patients are provided with a modified walker trolley, and can walk to the bar, make their breakfast and drink, whilst supervised by staff, and take their meal away.
Terrie Whiteside, Ward Manager, has been championing these positive changes. She said: “As nurses, we do everything for our patients, but this has opened my eyes to the fact that our patients don’t need waiting on hand and foot. They need to be encouraged to do things for themselves if they have the right mobility, so that we can increase their confidence going home.
“When they’ve been in hospital for weeks and weeks, their confidence in doing tasks by themselves can drop, so we can help by getting them used to simple things like pouring their cereal, opening a coffee pot, which for some they haven’t done in a long time.”
Although patients can still be served by the trolley if they should choose, most patients have loved the freedom and if they’re able to walk, have been happy to do it.
Whilst the breakfast bar concept has been piloted on Burlington, it does have the potential to expand to other wards for patients with the correct mobility and the right levels of supervision in place.
Terrie expressed: “This is such a simple idea, but it is the simple ones that make the biggest difference. Everything we do on this ward is about making it better for the patient, and their experience.”