Smiles for miles - the importance of staff wellbeing.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

At The Prince of Wales Hospice we recognise that staff are our greatest asset. To ensure we have a happy and healthy workforce, equipped to deliver the very best patient care, we have rolled out a staff wellbeing programme over the past 12 months. 
Working at a hospice can be physically and emotionally stressful. Addressing staff wellbeing isn’t just about looking after clinical staff. Many of our employees have contact with patients and their loved ones, bereaved family members and the general public so it’s important we consider staff health and wellbeing across the organisation, for everyone. 
In July 2018 we set up a Staff Health and Wellbeing Steering Group. Representatives from teams across the Hospice, including the nursing team, retail, fundraising and facilities meet every 6 weeks. The first agenda item was staff resilience. We know that if staff health and wellbeing isn’t addressed you end up with a workforce under stress and with people feeling they cannot cope. Sickness levels rise and staff in work might not be performing at their best. 
Since then some fantastic things have been put in place by the Steering Group to champion and support positive mental health and wellbeing at the Hospice. 
Health body and mind:
We offer access to smoking cessation services, occupational health and clinical supervision. We teamed up with Tesco pharmacy during the winter months to vaccinate staff on-site against flu. Our employee assistance phone line is available to 24 hours a day for staff to talk through any problems and access relevant advice services. Our Complementary Therapist offers short courses of massage, Reiki and aromatherapy to staff, free of charge, to aid relaxation and reduce stress. 
Walking club:  This began in the new year when everyone’s minds were on banishing the January blues and getting rid of those unwanted Christmas pounds. The club runs every Tuesday and Thursday lunch time for all fitness abilities. Endorphins released during exercise are clinically proven to boost your mood as well. Staff are encouraged to take a break and get out into the fresh air to enjoy the tranquillity of the Hospice gardens. 
Positive work home life balance:
We have introduced longer shifts so nurses can opt to do their working hours over three longer days rather than five traditional shifts. This means they’re at home more than they are at work.  We are family friendly and accommodate flexible working requests for all staff to promote a good work, home life balance. We offer retire-return options which mean clinical staff approaching retirement can work reduced hours, and even leave, draw their NHS pension and then return to work at the Hospice, usually working shorter shifts. This lets us retain experienced members of staff who can support and mentor newer members of the team. 
Theme days: 
So far the group have organised two themed fun days, celebrating Christmas and Easter. These are a fantastic way for staff who may not ordinarily work with another to come together in an informal and relaxed way. They can spend their breaks and lunch doing fun activities, getting to know each other and having a giggle. 
Mental health first aiders:
We have supported two members of staff to complete a mental health first aid training course. The staff members will be available to support any colleagues that are battling mental health issues and offer a confidential ear if they want to talk about their struggles. 
Jigsaw club: 
A jigsaw club became hugely popular with staff. We have now rolled it out to include patients, families and visitors with a jigsaw always available in our Garden room. Completing a jigsaw promotes relaxation and helps diminish stress. Whilst you are concentrating on fixing the pieces together your mind is taken off other things that may be worrying you. 
We have already seen positive results from the work we have done to promote staff wellbeing at the Hospice. Sickness levels at the end of 2018/2019 were lower than the previous year and morale in general is higher with increased participation in social activities. 
As an organisation that provides care services, we are passionate about looking after everyone who comes through our doors, from staff and volunteers to patients, carers and families.

We hope to keep you updated with our staff wellbeing programme, so make sure you keep an eye on our page! 

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