Making psychiatric wards safer and more peaceful

Safewards, led by Professor Len Bowers, has been funded through a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grant for Applied Research and aims to make psychiatric hospitals more peaceful, safer and therapeutic.Twice in the last year I have had the opportunity to hear Len present the thinking behind the Safewards model, outline the design and methods of the Safewards randomised controlled trial and talk through its main findings.

Following the link from the Safewards logo above takes you to the project’s website. This is packed full of useful information, including the detail of the simple nursing practices which Len and his team found reduced rates of conflict and containment in the hospital wards participating in their study. For an accessible introduction to what Safewards is all about, there is also this video in which Len presents his work to an audience in Melbourne in October 2013:

As I suggested in a meeting yesterday with esteemed Cardiff and Vale University Health Board colleagues, this really is exceptionally important new knowledge for mental health nurses. Now that the main trial is complete Len and his collaborators look to be devoting much of their energies to helping inpatient mental health staff and managers make use of the Safewards interventions in their everyday practice. I wish them every success, and am encouraging people to find out more and to spread the word.

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