Path of Positivity

Purpose

To develop an environment where our staff and patients can connect with nature in a safe and accessible space, giving them the chance to breath, to decompress and improve their mental and physical wellbeing.  

A place for the rehabilitation of our patients in an organic, holistic, and real-life situation.  

Approach

In January 2019, I submitted the idea for a path around the RJAH field to the Trust, via the Ideas Portal (an online application where staff can propose their ideas to improve the hospital). 

 

The idea was agreed in June 2019, and I was given permission to move forward with the project.​ 

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Then covid-19 hit us all and absolutely everything changed overnight. The project was paused as energy and focus had to be directed elsewhere. 

 

In June 2020, Victoria Sugden, Charity Director of the RJAH League of Friends, was successful in gaining a substantial funding from NHS Charities Together (NHSCT), following the £33 million donation made by the late Captain Sir Tom Moore’s extraordinary fundraising efforts, where he had initially hoped to raise £1,000 by completing 100 laps of his garden by the time he reached his 100th birthday. 

 

Victoria, who was aware of my project, asked if the Path of Positivity idea could be put to the staff, as an option of how to spend the funding via a vote. There were 5 options in total. 

 

In October 2020, the results of staff survey came back and over 60% of staff voted for the Path around the field. 

 

Initially this work involved a small project group which consisted of myself, Victoria and Mike Bowen, Estates Capital Manager.    

 

As the project moved forwards a larger Path committee was formed, with staff from all over the Trust and many different departments and specialties, to ensure aspects were suitable to all.  

 

On 30th April 2021, building commenced, on what would have been Captain Sir Tom Moore’s 101st birthday.​ 

Outcomes

The Path of Positivity opened in July 2021 for our staff and patients. 

Some of the feedback from staff and patients can be found below: 

​ "I think the path is a fantastic way for the patients to do some of their rehab in nature. It has little slopes for patients using crutches, walking sticks or Zimmer frames to get used to. Also, for wheelchairs users to practice their pushing skills and exercise tolerance they will need to use when they get home.”​ 

“It's so peaceful you don't feel like you are in a hospital environment, seeing bunnies and squirrels running about.”​ 

“I’d forgotten what it’s like to be outside walking around, it’s bloody hard work but great at the same time.” 

“I eat lunch out there as often as I can, I can relax, shut off, there are no telephones, no one asking me if I’ve got a minute. I actually get a lunch break and go back in feeling refreshed.”​ 

 

​Since the path has been completed and opened to staff and patients to use, the path is being used for the following: 

  • Mask free time                                                            
  • Time off ward for patients ​ 
  • Walking meetings                                                      
  • Breaks ​ 
  • De-stress/wobble laps
  • Appraisals​ 
  • Pre and post work exercise   
  • Patient’s rehab ​ 
  •  Mindfulness moments
  • Fitness training     

One of the greatest things about the path is that it is being used by staff and patients from so many different departments within the Trust. It has truly benefitted the whole of the RJAH. 

As covid-19 restrictions begin to reduce, I hope to see more staff and patients being able to enjoy the great outdoors while moving around the path, feeling the benefits to both their physical and mental wellbeing and that connection to nature.​  

Cost and savings

£ 10,000  

Implications

Staff now have to ability to exercise during the working day and walking out to the path for a break is so much more beneficial than sitting at a desk inside. Patients have benefited from being able to rehab in a natural environment. 

 We are now planning to plant more trees which will coincide with the NHS forest and Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. We are also looking to place artwork around the path and improve seating, with benches and wheelchair accessible picnic benches. 

Unfortunately, due to covid-19 restrictions a larger range of patients have not been able to access the path. However, every speciality of physiotherapy within the Trust have expressed to me how they will be able to benefit and utilise the path.  

Top three learning points

  1. You must really believe in a project to be able to move it forward. 
  2. Communication and relationships within your organisation are vital when embarking on a project. 
  3. You can make positive changes to the way we work, whatever your banding.  

Funding acknowledgements

£ 100,00 fully funded by Captain Sir Tom Moore via NHSCT