"Staff and families should be included to make things better"

About: North East London NHS Foundation Trust / Inpatient mental health care

(as a relative),

Overall, I think the Woodbury Unit is kept spotlessly clean and the staff are kind and do their best under difficult circumstances. In my opinion they are extremely understaffed, considering they are dealing mainly with dementia patients with challenging behaviours.

But I also think the layout of the unit is badly designed for both staff and patients. There is a main seating area/dining room and an L shaped corridor leading down to the bedrooms. There is no opening at the end of the main room, so I think if some patients want to walk down to the end of the corridor the staff are unable to see what they are doing. Therefore, some patients are encouraged to stay in the main seating area where they can be kept safe.

I think the seats are old and stained and many of them have lost most of their cushioning. Considering the majority of the people that use the unit are old and frail, and are seated for a good part of the day, I think this matter should be addressed.

In my opinion, staff and families of patients should be included in discussions/questionnaires on how to improve the unit and make it work better for all concerned.

From my experience, dementia patients become upset/unsettled/disorientated when removed from familiar environments and from the people that care for them. I believe the ratio of staff does not allow for the individual needs of patients to be addressed. Therefore, I have seen there can often be a worsening of behaviours or a decline in some of their general well-being.

In some cases, there is a real need for time to be quiet and in their own space away from the noise and bustle of the main room.

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