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Setting standards around integrated physical and mental healthcare

14 May 2019

While the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May) circles around ‘body image’, we at the Trust are dedicating each day highlighting the fantastic work we do, under the key theme umbrella.

Today, we focus on physical health. Since last year, we changed our name to ‘West London NHS Trust’, reflecting our position of being a Trust that specialises in integrated mental and physical healthcare.

One of the leaders in conveying this important message externally is our very own physical healthcare Nurse Consultant, Linda Nazarko. Linda is often asked to deliver talks and seminars about the importance of considering physical healthcare in a mental health setting. Today (Tuesday 14 May), she was one of the keynote contributors at a learning event hosted by Equally Well UK.

In her presentation, Linda highlighted what needs to be done with regards to overcoming challenges around improving physical health in a mental health setting. These include:

  1. Develop strategy and policy, what needs to be done and how we will do it
  2. Recognise and escalate deteriorating patients
  3. Ensure patients we admit are fit and not acutely unwell
  4. Educate on induction and as part of clinical education programmes
  5. Audit – how are we doing and what do we need to do to improve
  6. Lessons from audit, improve structures, processes clarify expectations
  7. Change the culture

What are we doing at the Trust to lead by example? Linda comments: “At West London we’ve published our physical health strategy. The physical health policy was developed in partnership with staff working clinically within the Trust. We have appointed a nurse consultant in physical healthcare and have just appointed a nurse practitioner. We have a robust education and training programme and carry out monthly audits on key aspects of physical health. We’re also developing community led assessments.”