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New co-produced “Stronger Together” group at Ramsey Unit

Service users and staff on Ramsey Unit, our high dependency rehabilitation service for men at Cygnet Hospital Colchester, have been working together to strengthen relationships and improve communication by starting a weekly co-production meeting. The ‘Stronger Together’ group was named by the individuals that attend after they expressed they would like to be more involved in projects within the service.

The initial sessions focused on each individual expressing ideas about improving collaborative working and specifically, working in a collaborative way to share ideas and views on the Cygnet pathway. The project supported building motivation for participation in the group using the medium of art and enabled reflection on “lived experiences” being shared with others including peers and professionals alike.

The first project session focused on individuals sharing their own experiences; how they felt on admission, concerns they had, what contributed to admission from individual perspectives, and what individuals felt were supportive in aiding their discharge pathway. Experiences were shared about how all this could be used on a representation of the Cygnet model of care and how barriers and support could be shown in “plain English” in a collaborative way.

Concepts were drawn up on a board of how this could be shown. Pathways using steps, a road, a map and a river were all discussed as a group and a draft of the KAWA river model was shared with attendees and with the wider team. Following sessions focused on “perceived barriers”, represented by the boulders, and what support could be in place to work towards discharge.

Photos of the board were captured every week so ideas could be replicated on the art piece. Once this was shared and agreed upon, work soon started on the ward and individuals participated, learning art techniques along the way. The piece took 3 weeks to complete and many members of the group painted including some of the professionals working on the ward.

The group agreed they felt a river would best represent their journey, flowing towards a common goal and the rainbow symbolising the support they would need and the barriers they could face along the way.

Susan Wood, an Occupational Therapist on Ramsey Unit has been facilitating the groups and has received positive feedback from those involved:

There were individuals that attended the group week on week and they have commented on how much they enjoyed it, they expressed the pathway was ‘easy to understand for those who may be less able’. Even those that did not want to paint showed an interest and added their views on the piece. Susan Wood, Occupational Therapist

In the coming weeks the group plans to continue to discuss what co-production means for them and how they can continue to embed it within the service.

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