Extracts of interviews with:
Emma Davey, Nurse on Devonshire Ward, Stroke Unit, 8 years
Nicki Greenwood, Basic Grade, 6 months
Victoria, Occupational Therapist, 1 year, 1988
Ian Pratt, Domestic Assistant, then Nursing Assistant until March 2004
Sue Vandenwijngaerden, Occupational Therapist
Caroline Lees, Stroke Unit, 6 years Occupational Therapist, also Student Nurse in 1980

Victoria: "... when I started I felt that it was very different, it was like going back in time. I was in Bourne Ward in 1979 when I was training and I came back later as an Occupational Therapist on Devonshire Ward, and the feeling was very different. It was about rehabilitation, enabling people to go home ...

...in the early days there was a lot of group therapy; I remember the Woodwork Man"

Ian: "I remember there was a man who didn't want to go up there (the woodwork room) because he was getting a cold. I said you have to go, and when we got there, there was dust flying around everywhere, you wouldn't do that now"

Emma: "A lot of people came with a negative attitude because they felt it was very old fashioned, not as dynamic, or modern compared to the DGH, backward etc. but virtually everyone left with glowing reports and I think that was down to the staff really ...

...I think a lot of it was the slower pace, the opportunity to build relationships, not quite so busy, more time for routine, time with the family, and also the grounds as well ...

...even in the winter they could go off the ward; they could go to the chapel or the social areas around the hospital. In the summer they could go out of the hospital to the village or the seafront.It was a unique position, and gave lots of opportunities to people ...

...one of the first things was to get them dressed which takes them out of the patient mode, and it was quite a shock because they had been in the DGH and they wore pyjamas or a nightdress all day, and they stayed in bed or sat out in a chair beside the bed. I think by getting them dressed in the first place, was the first step to getting them back to some kind of normality, I think that was the first important step...

...we tried to give them some sort of mobility so that if they couldn't actually walk themselves we would find them a wheelchair, so that they could eat meals together at a table in a much more normal atmosphere, rather than at the DGH where they ate their meals in bed, or beside it, alone ...

...at All Saints it was eating together so that they could hold a conversation and get peer support as well ...

...they could talk about their experiences and support each other. which was the big thing about the feeling of community between the patients and staff"

Sue: "I noticed on my first day all the OTs sat around a big table which was like the family table where you had all your meals and I thought it was so cosy, and I found the atmosphere within a working environment so lovely ...

...if you walked down the corridor you said "Hello"to everybody regardless of whether you knew them or not, whereas if you go to a larger hospital you might not say "Hello"to people. You might not recognise people in a larger hospital but you would at All Saints even if you didn't know them"

Ian: "It might sound odd in this day and age but when they stopped smoking in the canteen,, everybody in their break instead of going up to the canteen would go somewhere different, even if you were a non-smoker you still went up there and everybody mixed"

Emma: "When Bob took over he said "let's make a smoking room, do the gardens, fix the floor and it doesn't matter if its going to close in a year's time ...

...I think things actually improved towards the end to some degree, everyone carried on as if it wasn't going to close, and although that was quite traumatic when it happened we did feel supported by management"

Nicky: "the nice thing about All Saints is that you did feel integrated, there wasn't any, us and them,I was quite pleasantly surprised, the nursing staff just embraced you. I've worked at other places where it hadn't been quite like that, where people know their groups and boundaries and they stick within that, at All Saints it was a very different atmosphere ...

...everyone talked with everyone, there wasn't the hierarchy in the same way"

Emma: "It was great fun working there, a shift wouldn't go by without you having a laugh with your team-mates and the patients. That was always encouraged I think ...

...it was very busy, there was always a lot to be done, you didn't have as much time as you would like for the personal care, or sitting having a chat, but it was all very valuable time with the patients. The patients' relatives and visitors were involved as much as possible, that was the philosophy of care in all the wards...

...the visiting time was flexible, when visitors came in the summer you might just go out in the garden with them all. You would see patients, staff and visitors sitting in groups chatting, that was really nice ...

...it was such a nice environment, that was really important. Going up to the DGH there is nowhere nice just to go and sit out, it was idyllic really"

Caroline "I remember my first day, I went home and rang my parents and said "It's like a family business ...

...I felt so at home. In my first week, my memory is of this little fluffy tail disappearing round the corner of the OT department into Devonshire ward"

Ian: "It wasn't one of the porters was it"

Caroline: "It was Daisy"

Emma: "Daisy was my dog, I used to take her into work and try to put her under the desk ...

...it was very free and easy, people brought their pets in, obviously not to stay ...

...I remember a wild scheme, some people wanted to have ducks, it was bizarre. The old manager, Lyn, kept ducks and they had offspring she wanted to palm off, and Dave thought it would be good for the community spirit if they had some ducks ...

...and great we can have a pond she said, and he said if you just have a washing-up bowl it will be fine. I remember I put my foot down and said "No, we were not doing that."Imagine, how do you house train, or ward train, a duck waddling in and going round"

Ian "You could have a duck flap"

Emma: "It was something that a ward manager could think was quite feasible"

Caroline: "I had a student who said she thought it was like a church ...

...it didn't look like a hospital when you first arrived ...

...when you come from out of the area, and arrive for the first time it looks like a church or religious community, but that was what it was originally built for'

Ian: "I can remember one student said that all she could think of was Count Dracula and that he would be lurking somewhere within the building" There was a tunnel that went down from the side and came out in Roselands"

Emma: "It was kind of scary on Seaside Ward, I would steal myself to go up there because that was where our equipment store was. You could almost hear the ghosts echoing around, but it was really lovely looking at the views from there ...

...there were lots of ghosts stories, lots of patients said they had seen a nun sitting at the end of the bed and the story was that those patients did really well; it never happened to me though"

Emma: "There was an idea to do up all the gardens from Sue and Bob. I got caught up in it ...

...one of the things I liked was sitting out there and watching the foxes, there are badgers as well but I never saw them. I started doing the pond and other people got involved, coming along at the weekend ...

...we had quite a lot of people, volunteers, and the British Conservation people ... it kind of escalated ... patients came and sat out there ... I did the orchard bit. Orchard experts came along and advised on it all, the right time to prune the trees etc ... it was very well thought through, expect for the path, you couldn't get a wheelchair up it...

...the apples were very tasty, they were rare apples and they had some specialist people who came and checked them out because they were so old"

Victoria: "Fran, the Social Worker organised that, she does the seed bank in Brighton ...

...in summer we would take our sandwiches over to the sea, not many places you could do that, that was a real treat. Knowing it was coming to an end it made you really appreciate it"

Sue: "all the services were there under one roof, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, a Stroke Team, Speech Therapy, a Dietitian and the Saints Club which was a really major thing there. Geraldine ran that... ...the hairdresser came in regularly, and that was a big thing ...

...I think it was nice that every body knew each other. It was a big thing to go and see the Social Workers and build up a relationship with them, that was really unusual. They had a lovely office, with the text over the fireplace and the windows that opened up on to the garden; that was a lovely office to work in"

Emma: "I remember one of the down sides was putting the buckets around the wards, especially in the new bits" Ian: "We had such gaps in some of the windows that we stapled up plastic to bring the temperature up, we did that for three years ...

...the plaster was dropping off in the OT room"

Emma: "We ran a patients forum ...

...we tried to have one of the patients as Chairman, and they stick in my mind because if they had been in hospital for a long time this helped to give them back some identity, and opportunities, and skills to go home. Every patient is an individual and we took into consideration their particular needs and environment, and their goals, as part of their rehabilitation ...

...you could work with whatever their personal goals were"

Caroline: "Every patient was assessed individually by all staff. OTS, Nurses, Doctors, Physios ...

...conditions weren't ideal but we made it work. When you work in such a nice environment you can forgive it for not being designed for the job"

Ian: "Everyone was expected to attend breakfast and be presentable. Then there were the visits to the physiotherapists and occupational therapists or speech therapist. Rest was very important ...

...patients were encouraged to go out, leave the premises, and go home for short periods"

Emma: "As well as the Patients' Forum, we had quiz Nights, lots of games, and puzzles ...

...we had phases where staff and patients got together to play scrabble ...

...there was a communal area with a piano where patients got together and the Salvation Army came in once a month. There was also a group of singers who came in from time to time... there was quite a lot going on"

Victoria: "everybody worked together and because it was such an unusual building it had a family feeling ...

...the building was unusual but it was the people that made it; the people that stayed there liked being part of a community"

Nicky: "it was really easy to work there, it felt like home and family. You knew that every one was fairly solid. In my first week I was really looked after, taken to the cinema, and given a television"

Emma: "we did the basics, but for some people these were the most important things, keeping people clean and well-fed ...

...we served the food ourselves and everyone got plenty of food, and they got seconds. It was a very important part of the job, if someone is not eating it's important to know that. That was one of the good things about serving the food, you could see what people were eating and by having group meals people were encouraged by each other ... ..

...we would get fish and chips occasionally for a whole ward which was a nightmare to organise as there was no fish and chip shop in Meads Village. We would get the patients to organise it themselves...

...It was the friendliest place I have ever been in and all the patients said that"

Ian: "We tried to empower patients, give them back some choices and confidence ...

...patients would get up to all sorts of tricks. I remember we had two patients on Bourne Ward, one was blind and would call out all the time; he wanted some company. The other chap said, what I do is slide myself out of bed onto the floor,then they have to come and pick you up! ...what most people wanted was All saints to be purpose-built somewhere else"

Caroline: "the spirit of All Saints built up over time and influenced people... it's a shame they didn't build something on the lower field, then it would have continued"

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