August proves successful month for health board fitness campaign

STAFF have jumped on the saddle to help a health board fitness campaign cross the finishing line.

Swansea Bay’s Active August initiative has highlighted the importance of keeping the mind and body busy.

The health board combined a culture of activity for staff and encouraging patients to keep moving throughout their hospital stay.

The effects of prolonged inactivity, such as staying in bed for extended periods, can be severe, with patients at higher risk of infection, cardiac issues, incontinence, falls, pressure damage, reduced mobility and malnutrition.

To sign off a successful initiative, Active August’s finale came in the form of a static cycle challenge, which saw staff take their turn to ride 189 miles – the length of the M4 – in Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

Organised by physiotherapy, the event was supported by staff across numerous departments.

PICTURED: Lisa Thornhill, physio technician; David Pitman, porter; Tracy Jones, matron; Joanna Clarke, occupational therapist; Loren Evans, practise development nurse give support to physiotherapy inpatient team lead Kirsty Price as she starts the static cycle challenge.

Kirsty Price, Physiotherapy Inpatient Team Lead, said: “It seemed fitting that having supported patients in staying active throughout the month, our staff ensured Active August crossed the finishing line.

“The benefits of keeping our patients busy throughout their hospital stay really shone through in the different events being held, but it was equally important that our staff remained active too.

“A healthier and more active workforce helps us deliver excellent care, while it improves our physical and mental wellbeing. It was also evident in our final event that the large turnout of staff showed a lot of camaraderie and team spirit to finish Active August on a high.”

The campaign has been embraced across the health board, with various departments hosting events for their patients and staff.

Velcro darts, four in a row and skittles were among some of the games available on wards in Singleton and Neath Port Talbot hospitals, which also staged a ‘day at the beach’ in its atrium for patients.

Staff have also led the way, with Director of Insight, Communications and Engagement, Richard Thomas representing Wales Over-50s at the European Touch Championships in France, while highly specialist physiotherapist Gwenno Thomas, health care support worker Joanna Jones and occupational therapist Elizabeth Stuckey completed a 5k parkrun.

For office-based staff, a special deskercise video was created to ensure they kept active throughout the day.

Aside from physical activity, mental stimulation was also part of Active August’s remit.

The Liaison Psychiatry Team and the Emergency Department / Older Persons Assessment Service Occupational Therapy Team worked together to create special wellbeing packs for people with low-risk mental health problems to help keep their brain active.

Eleri D’Arcy, Falls Quality Improvement Lead, said: “This event not only marked the culmination of a month filled with physical activity but also kick-started a new era of health and wellness and a Reconditioned Swansea Bay.

“While our Cycle the M4 ride signalled the end of this particular campaign, the efforts of staff and patients throughout August has set the precedent moving forward.

“The health board’s mission was to transform attitudes and culture surrounding physical and mental activity within our hospitals and communities, and a collective effort has made it a big success.”

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