Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust’s Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) staff have asked service users to help design a new unit for mothers and babies that will open this summer (2018).
Tee Nixon and Zoe Gibson are Mother and Infant Mental Health Service (MIMHS) service users who regularly attend MBU project board meetings and have added a huge amount of value raising awareness of mental health issues that can be experienced during the perinatal period.
As a result service users’ views have influenced the final design, operational management and structure. For example MBU staff will wear tabards to make them easily identifiable and service users have chosen the room furnishings, wall colours and art work within the unit.
Getting the message out to local communities and professionals is vital and Tee and Zoe have worked alongside the trust’s Communications team to deliver regular internal and external messages.
Tee and Zoe are also helping to design promotional materials for the unit including the right information for families, with a particular focus not only on the mother but also fathers/partners.
The pair have been interviewed by local newspapers and television to share their stories and positive journeys of recovery.
Zoe and Tee have also helped select the best possible team for the new unit and have interviewed a range of staff, including the MBU Consultant Psychiatrist, Matron, Ward Manager, staff nurses, and nursery nurses. They also chose the presentation title topic for the consultant to present and have written some of the questions for the other staff interviews.
Zoe and Tee have recently been appointed themselves to the positions of Peer Support Workers. This will further help co-production into the MBU.
Local and national conferences
Tee and Zoe have supported KMPT clinicians at several local and national conferences, where they share their experiences of perinatal mental ill health and how they have been involved in the MBU design and development. This has included presentations in February this year at the ‘South East Perinatal Mental Health Networks, learning and sharing best practice’, ‘Better Together’ KMPT Conference – A Collective Conversation Transforming Mental Health and Wellbeing conference in March and in April at the National ‘Share Learning MBU Conference ‘2018.
Future plans for co-production
- Embedding co-production into clinical practice through permanent peer support worker role
- Peer support workers will develop a recovery booklet to provide education and advice and support Mums on discharge from the MBU
- Peer support worker and other service user mothers and carers will support the training and development of staff
- Enhance co-production within the Community Perinatal team with the development of peer support worker roles
- Peer support workers will act as mentors for students and trainees.
- Co – facilitating support groups for Dads
- Continuing to support managers and clinicians at local and national event, with their positive image of Perinatal Mental Health and wellbeing
- Developing the literature for the MBU and being instrumental in the welcome pack and recovery information.