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My thoughts on recovery

23 Jan 2013

I was talking to a service user the other day about the care he has received at the Trust. He was telling me how much it means to him that he’s been asked to help develop a new web page for our Ealing recovery hub.

He’s been unwell for a few years, but during that time, thanks to encouragement from friends, his family and staff at the Trust, he’s had the support to develop his skills to put him in a position to do this work.

Keith’s experience speaks to our key aim which is to provide excellent mental healthcare that promotes recovery. Recovery is about hope, and it’s our belief that every person should be able to create a satisfying and meaningful life.

Our focus on recovery means that we have been moving away from a model of care where we ‘looked after people’ to one where we work with patients to manage their symptoms and focus on improving their health, strengths and wellness.

We were very fortunate as a Trust, to have been accepted as an IMROC (recovery) pilot site two years ago. This is a national recovery initiative which stands for Implementing Recovery for Organisational Change and during that time we received expert advice and had the opportunity to work with other trusts to share good practice, and learn how to deliver recovery focused care throughout all our services.
I’ve heard from many of you about the energy and enthusiasm for recovery which has come about as a result of the pilot. So much so, that we’re considering signing up to part two of it, to make sure we have the additional support we need to continue the good work we’ve started.

One of the things I’ve been really impressed by has been our recovery conferences, used to engage people in the recovery agenda and share good practice. Colleagues in our West London Forensic Services are now working on their next recovery conference which will be at Ealing town hall on 28 January. There, staff and service users will be talking about the importance of personal stories in supporting recovery and the positive impact they can have on patient and staff experience.

For example we’ll have Experts by Experience from the Cassel talking about the importance of personal stories in understanding personality disorder and self injury and there will be a drama production by the Geese Theatre Company about personal stories and forensic mental health.

Forensic services have also worked on an inspiring recovery booklet, called ‘It’s Possible’. It’s a collection of artwork, poetry and personal accounts contributed by people who have used our forensic services. The booklet, which will be launched at the conference, will be given out to people newly admitted to our service in the hope that it will help and encourage them if they’re going through something similar. Margaret Rioga, who works in the service, can give you more information and we’ll be publishing it on our website.

In our high secure services at Broadmoor, one of the very positive developments has been the recovery college, inside the hospital, where patients and staff have been attending recovery based learning sessions together. I’m told this is helping to break down barriers, giving all a shared understanding of what recovery means, and helping patients on their journey through the service.

In our local services, an important element of our recovery work is about getting patients who don’t need to be in hospital, out into their own communities. To that end we’re now working with Rethink and our local authorities partners on setting up recovery houses. These are facilities where patients who have been in hospital can go to for a short period of time to adjust to living in the community before returning home. I’ll talk to you more about this in the coming weeks as we complete our arrangements for the recovery houses.

Through these projects we are creating the momentum to ensure the Trust across all its services is embracing the principles of recovery and putting them into action for patients and service users. But we need to do more to make that happen not just in pockets within the Trust but as the driving principle in everything we do.

I want all of you to think about how your service can develop its focus on recovery. To help you learn more about how you can adapt the recovery model for your services we are planning a festival of recovery in April that will provide ideas, experience and examples of good practice.

If you want to know more about recovery, the festival and how to take part please drop me an email or get in touch.

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