A pilot funded by Newcastle Hospitals Charity has resulted in the delivery of more than 1,000 interventions to support more than 200 patients in becoming more physically active.
The Active Hospitals Pilot at Ward 16 of the Freeman has been supporting patients with long-term conditions to become more physically active on the ward and to remain active on discharge from the hospital.
In its first year, 1,180 activity-based hospital interventions have been delivered. 631 have been strength-focused, while 549 have been cardio-focussed. There were also 286 “Active Conversations” started. 70% of patients taking part in the pilot have been discharged with an individualised physical activity plan including referral on to community-based and online resources.
Discharge resources include home exercise programmes, signposting to credible online resources (e.g. Sport England: “We are undefeatable”), referral to community partners (e.g. social prescribing, Healthworks and Better Newcastle) and links to local walking groups.
For inpatients, ward-based resources that include “HowFit” booklets that discuss the benefits of physical activity have been developed. There are also personalised physical activity plans, structured exercise/activity programmes (bed/chair/standing), walking programmes (with pedometers as required), maps of walking routes in the parks local to the Freeman and RVI and group-based exercise sessions.
Patients taking part in the pilot have reported having “increased confidence” in their ability to mobilise on the ward and that the input from the Active Hospitals Team had been “extremely beneficial to their mood” and maintaining positive mental health both on the ward and post-discharge.
The Social Prescribing Team in Newcastle have been able to help patients referred directly to them to address some of the wider determinants of health including loneliness, social isolation and support with finance and benefits.
In June, two physical activity roadshows took place at Newcastle Hospitals, alongside community partners, to showcase the benefits of physical activity. More sessions are planned for 2024 to involve patients, staff and visitors.
Kate Hallsworth and Catherine Turner are the co-leaders of the Active Hospitals Pilot. They are delighted with the high number of interventions to allow patients to take up the chance to increase their physical activity.
Kate, a senior research physiotherapist, said: “It has been a really exciting project to be involved with and something that’s desperately needed in Newcastle, because we have some of the highest inactivity levels across the UK.
“A lot of our patients are inactive when they come into hospital and remain inactive when they’re in hospital so this has really been a chance to try and talk about physical activity, get physical activity on the agenda, but hopefully signpost them home with a physical activity plan that they can keep to in the longer term.”
Catherine, a physiotherapy operational lead, said: “We’ve set up a number of different referral pathways, dependent on what the patients need.
“It’s been great to see some of the patients take up opportunities with the voluntary sector and leisure sector, as well as some of our existing pathways. Pulling all of that together has been quite beneficial.
“It’s good to see such a big number take up some of these opportunities which helps with the longer term physical activity agenda.”