27 April 2015

Self catering on Woodberry Ward


Alison O’Reilly and Ali Kilic presented their project at the QI conference in March

This month the QI team caught up with Alison O’Reilly, Senior Occupational Therapist about her team’s QI project to introduce self-catering to Woodberry Ward in our Forensic Mental Health service.

How did you identify the improvement idea for your project?

This project came about in response to ongoing negative feedback about provision of catering services within the unit.  The complaints regarding the food were in response to both taste, quality and nutritional value.   The wider clinical issues included lack of participation in activities of daily living in what is a rehabilitative setting, preparing individuals for discharge into the community.  The physical health needs of service users was also prevalent, with many being obese or overweight.

Did you identify any barriers to your project? if so how did you overcome them?

There were many anxieties initially about the scale of the project i.e. cooking our own evening meals seven days a week.  We visited a secure unit in South London who had been self-catering for three years and this gave us encouragement that it was possible.  Having a month’s trial period was really helpful as the emphasis was that we were trialling something and it was okay if it didn’t work out.  Once the project was up and running people could very quickly see the benefits and the enthusiasm form the service users was the key driver.

What are your early results and latest data showing us?

We chose a simple measure to get us started looking at participation rates in the delivery of the meal.  During the month’s trial the average weekly participation rate was over 60% which was the initial goal and for the whole month only one service user on the ward didn’t participate at all.  The numbers have dropped slightly but we have between 50-60% of service users participating weekly.  Satisfaction rates of meals and ward environment have also improved.

Has the QI training helped you run your project?

The QI gave us a helpful framework with the PDSA cycles to make changes at a fast pace and continuously evaluate.  Having regular team meetings helped move things along and support via the sponsors from management was really beneficial.

Finally, how would you sum up your personal learning experience of QI and its benefits.

The QI has enabled service users and ward staff to make changes directly to the ward and their care experience.  Service users have more control over their environment and are developing invaluable skills to support them in the community.  It’s allowed service users to say what they wanted to change and actually go ahead and do it!

We’d like to share with you our video to get a taster of how the project’s running.  This was recorded in February and features one of the favourite meals – chicken curry.


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