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Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award as one of the first acute trusts in the country to use a Shared Reading programme to improve the patient experience on its wards.
Shared Reading is a simple yet powerful idea, pioneered by Liverpool-based national charity The Reader, which brings people together in small groups to talk and share great novels, poems and plays. It has been shown to improve mental and social wellbeing among participants.
More than 150 patients have benefitted from Shared Reading groups, led by staff from Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals, since they were introduced in July 2019 as part of a patient experience initiative. The incredible impact in improving both the mental and physical health of patients has resulted in the Trust being shortlisted in this year’s Patient Experience National Network Awards (PENNA) – Partnership Working to improve the Experience category.
Initially introduced on the intermediate care ward at Halton Hospital and dementia and stroke wards at Warrington Hospital, weekly Shared Reading groups bring patients and staff together to read aloud, share thoughts, reflections and memories sparked by the literature.
Whilst the therapeutic benefits of Shared Reading in aiding recovery are well documented, Acute Medical Therapies Team Manager at WHH, Rachel Bold identified early on the additional benefit of these sessions in assessing patients. Shared Reading Sessions on the Forget Me Not ward (B12) enabled staff to observe the physical and cognitive function and wellbeing of patients with dementia in a relaxed and enjoyable setting.
After witnessing extremely positive results for both mental wellbeing and physical health WHH is now exploring rolling the programme out to support more patients on additional wards.
Chief Nurse at WHH, Kimberley Salmon-Jamieson said: “Shared Reading has created incredible connections and powerful moments for patients, empowering them to find their voice and to re-connect with themselves, their fellows and our staff.
“We look forward to introducing it to more patients this year.”
Kyla Hall, Partnerships and Development Manager at The Reader, said: “What is so special about Warrington and Halton Hospitals is the way that staff have embraced Shared Reading as a different way to connect with patients and improve their experience of care whilst in hospital.
“The Trust is really driving this initiative and we have seen talented staff using their passion for Shared Reading to benefit patients and help them connect with their own interests and each other.”
Staff at Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will find out if they have won an award at the Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA) which will be held as a virtual ceremony on 15 September.
The Shared Reading sessions at WHH have been supported by Warrington and Halton Hospitals’ Charity. To find out more about the work of our charity visit our website.