Hi - I'm feeling it in my heart today when I hear that some of our patients are saying they will never get to write on the discharge tree, and I know that some of them have been with us for years and I know that for some it would be like a slap in the face to see all the messages from people who have gone and they have not. We have a real problem with finding places for people post earthquake - I know it is 4 years now, but over 90% of the buildings in the city centre were destroyed and a lot of the places that we used to discharge our patients to were lost also. I can't help but think it could engender a feeling of failure, and potentially a loss of hope that they have not moved on. Our patients are the people most affected by mental illness and have the most losses. I wouldn't like to do anything to hurt them.
I am wondering about adjusting the tree somehow so its not just the lottery winners who are able to access accommodation in the community who can write messages on it. I would love to hear feedback on what I am thinking, and how other wards get on when they have some people staying a number of years, while others move on after a number of months.
This issue has come up before, usually in relation to forensic care where stays tend to be long.
There have been many alternative suggestions, all involve the contribution of messages by everyone on the ward. Seasonal messages: spring, summer, christmas, easter, end of year etc., many of which can be combined with different types of art work. If the issue is a unit of several wards, then transfer messages can be included, or the unit as a whole could have a tree/display for discharges.
The 'discharge' component is not essential. It is getting patients to share with each other the ways in which they value the hospital/ward/staff and testify to how they have been helped or how they situation has improved which is the essential component. A variety of ways can be found to facilitate this.
Have you watched/listened to the webinar on this topic?