The ward as a social community should not be ignored, as this is a powerful engine to help patients, shape their behaviour, and progress them towards discharge. The help and assistance that patients give each other is highly valued by them. Moreover the giving of help, even in the most minor of respects’ between patients, offers the giver a socially valued role, the chance to make a meaningful contribution and the potential to increase their self-esteem. Furthermore, about half of all patient violence arises from patient behaviour and/or patient-patient interaction. If we can teach patients to positively appreciate each other, contain their own emotional reactions to each other’s behaviour, and uphold behavioural expectations, then this will equally contribute to reduced levels of conflict.
A voluntary meeting of all patients and the staff on duty, to be held preferably first thing in the morning, and preferably every day (and certainly no less than three times a week). The more frequently it is held, the shorter it can be. The meeting is about how everyone can help everyone else during the rest of the day, and follows a structured agenda. Once all the points are covered, the meeting can be closed until next time. The meeting does not have to be chaired by a staff member. The four agenda points can be incorporated into other ward meetings for all patients and staff if required.
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