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Identifying activities and occupations to improve inpatient mental health care: A mixed methods study


1st supervisor: Prof Alan Simpson

2nd supervisor: Dr Sally Barlow

3rd supervisor: Dr Mary Birken

Research Centre

Mental Health Research

Project description

The National Institute for Health and Social Care Guidance on ‘Service user experience in adult mental health services’ [Quality Standard QS14] (NICE 2011) recommends that people in hospital for mental health care access meaningful and culturally appropriate activities 7 days a week, not restricted to 9am to 5pm. These activities would include creative and leisure activities, exercise, self-care and community access activities, facilitated by appropriately trained health or social care professionals.

Qualitative research and surveys suggest that service users find there are insufficient activities and occupations available on inpatient mental health wards. Our previous research (Bowers et al 2008) identified the importance of activities to reduce boredom and conflict, but acute wards contain people in various levels of mental distress with different and often competing needs. There is limited evidence indicating what activities service users want and how these will improve inpatient care and recovery. It is also unclear which of the various professional or support staff are best placed to provide and facilitate activities.

In line with the NICE (2011) recommendations, these questions will be answered by a mixed methods study including:

1. a systematic review of research on activities on wards

2. a national survey to identify which activities and occupations are currently provided on inpatient wards;

3. an interview study with service users to determine what activities they want on inpatient wards; and

4. an interview study with a range of acute ward staff, to identify the staff best placed to deliver and facilitate specific activities.

The results of the study will inform a future cluster randomised trial evaluating the inclusion of occupations and activities preferred by the service users compared with standard care.

If you would like to have an informal discussion please contact A.Simpson@city.ac.uk.