The Restraint Debrief Volunteer Team at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (C&I) has been shortlisted for the ‘Co-Created with Patients’ award at the annual NHS Elect National Patient Experience and Quality Improvement Conference.
The national award recognises the team’s contribution to supporting people with mental health difficulties in Camden and Islington.
On occasions, some patients in psychiatric inpatient settings have to be restrained by staff for the safety of themselves or others. The aim of the Restraint Debrief Volunteer is to give patients who have had to be restrained, a voice and an opportunity to reflect and feedback on the event from their perspective.
The benefit of having a volunteer in this role is that service users may find it easier to engage with volunteers due to high emotions after incidents. A number of volunteers have lived experience of mental illness themselves and can bring their valuable lived experience to the role.
Jo Scott, C&I’s Voluntary Services Manager, said: “Our volunteers play a significant role enhancing the care service users receive when they are going through a particularly difficult time in their life.
“Service users have responded very positively to having the opportunity to have their say and give their version of events after a restraint takes place. Having volunteers provide this service to patients, shows them that people who aren’t paid to be there care enough to come and speak with them to help improve things for them. This can play a vital part in boosting patients’ self-esteem and sense of self-worth. It also supports the breakdown of stigma around mental health, highlighting that their voice is still important even if they are unwell.”
Support for the team was boosted this year after successfully securing a grant from Helpforce – a national organisation which aims to improve the lives of NHS staff, patients and communities through volunteering.
The team will find out whether they have won the award at a ceremony early next month.
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In an emergency
C&I has moved the service we normally offer in emergency departments to our 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service, at St Pancras Hospital. The service will see people in need of urgent care so that they do not have to go to a hospital emergency department unless they have an urgent medical need. Emergency departments are under unprecedented pressure due to COVID-19 – the illness caused by coronavirus. We are urging people in mental health crisis to telephone our 24/7 crisis line on 020 3317 6333 or contact their usual community mental health team. If service users attend the 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service in person we will see you but we urge you to contact the crisis line in advance for advice to ensure you are only leaving home when absolutely necessary.