Monday, December 10, 2007

Health team in visit to Romania hospital

Daily Echo Dorset

A team of mental health workers from Dorset who have just returned from an exchange visit to Romania have spoken of their humbling experience. The four-strong party from Weymouth and Dorchester travelled to Mocrea Psychiatric Hospital, which is home to 115 patients.

They handed over donations to the hospital and a nearby orphanage - and now hope to welcome a nurse from Mocrea to Dorset. Weymouth and Portland community mental health team recovery team manager Malcolm Jarman and his secretary Jayne Quinn went on the exchange visit.

They were joined by Forston Clinic occupational therapist Helen Nicholson and Dorchester community mental health team occupational therapist Sarah Chubb. Patients at Mocrea Psychiatric Hospital all wear dressing gowns - because most do not have their own clothes - and are sedated to make life easier for them and staff. advertisement

A new hospital is being built in the area to give patients more space and enable them to have their own responsibilities.

Helen said: "It was a difficult, touching and enriching experience.

"We take our service for granted and even moan about it, but this is actually a result of decades of battling prejudices, fighting for improve government legislation, researching illness and medication and taking on an ingrained culture to develop client-centred care.

"It made me grateful I work in this imperfect and ever-changing area, knowing we're still moving forward and places like Mocrea also exist in our recent history and that they are moving forward too."

The team handed over donations to the hospital which will be used to buy numerous winter items such as hats, gloves and socks.

Jayne said: "The managers of the hospital are always very grateful for the donations. It supplements the inadequate sum they receive for each patient from the government which covers all aspects of patient care including medication, heating, food, water and general life situations."

The group also gave £500 to an orphanage, raised by St Aldhelm's Church mother and toddler group in Spa Road, Weymouth.

They now hope to welcome one of the Mocrea nurses with an interest in occupational therapy to Dorset to learn more about it.

Sarah said it would be an enormous boost for staff and patients at the hospital.

She added: "I felt quite humble to spend time with such inspirational people. It was quite strange that the clinical staff at Mocrea were most focused on sedating patients while the managers had views and aspirations more similar to current psychiatric care in the West."

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