Promoting well-being and compassion across generations in our communities by Karen Hamer, Mental Health Nurse
I’ve been a Mental Health Nurse for 34 years . Two years ago, I set up a Partnership with Grifithstown Primary School promoting our initiative of intergenerational practice.
The initiative is rewarding in so many ways. It benefits the patients they visit across county wards, Tysiriol Older Adult Mental Health Unit, the pupils , encourages potential for NHS Recruitment in the future and helps builds age friendly compassionate communities.
Since the initiative that offers experiential learning began 4 pupils have expressed an interested in wanting to become a nurse and one a paramedic.
We have witnessed noticeable improvements to patients’ holistic well-being, mood, increased sense of self-worth and self-value, and engagement in therapies.
This promotes the patient experience in these settings during a time when they most feel vulnerable and unwell, unsure about their futures in relation to long-term health conditions.
One gentleman Cyril has become a celebrated VIP in the community as people have lovingly got to know him with photos shared on Twitter and Facebook. Since losing his wife his engagement with the school on discharge from hospital has given him a sense of purpose in his life.
He enjoys spending time at the school and has helped them with their WW2 school project, sharing his war photos and stories. He recently spoke at a nursing conference with the pupils, myself and the teachers promoting Intergenerational Practice. At the grand age of 93 he still can’t believe what’s happened to him.
I took a selfie of Cyril and I recently (this was Cyril’s very first selfie) and he asked what it was. He now affectionately calls selfies a ‘smilie’… I agree, I prefer Cyril’s more accurate name for it.
I have also provided Dementia Friend Awareness sessions to Griffithstown Primary School and they have become the first primary school to be accredited with this award in Torfaen. Lynne Neagle AM presented the award and the pupils have since visited the Senedd to share their successes – Welsh Government were very impressed. Griffithstown school have since gone on to win the South Wales Argus Primary School of the year 2018.
This year I was honoured to have won British Journal of Nursing Mental Health Nurse Award for this work. This project has now been shortlisted for two categories in The Nursing Times Awards to take place later this year.
This aspect of my job has made me so happy as its helps benefit so many people including myself! I cry a lot of happy tears…. these two generations are magical together and have so much to give each other to reduce loneliness, improve well-being and generally make the world a better place to live in.