Nursing at Newbridge
How Nursing Helps Our Patients
Our experienced eating disorder nursing team is at the heart of the care we provide at Newbridge House.
This section describes the role of the nursing team in an eating disorder clinic, and how the nurses and healthcare assistants (HCAs) provide continuous, 24-hour support to the vulnerable young people in our care.
Parents often wonder how it is possible to persuade their child to eat and establish normal eating patterns again. Nurses and healthcare assistants (HCAs) sit with the young people during meal times to offer consistent support and encouragement. We have a graded table structure, which means when young people first come to Newbridge, they sit on a table with one-to-one support. They subsequently move to other tables with a different nurse-to-patient ratio once more normalised eating patterns develop.
All meals are prescribed very precisely by our dietitian and all food is wholly prepared and cooked at Newbridge House. Our chefs are long-standing and key members of the Newbridge House team who work very closely with our dietitian to ensure food quality is excellent and portion size exact. Our food quality was recently praised in a QNIC report.
This is helpful for our young people – they recognise that the food is prescribed, and that portions cannot be negotiated. They see that weight gain is gradual because amounts are controlled and prescribed, so there is a sense of safety and control over a very stressful component of the programme, which helps the process.
“We understand each young person, what support they need and also the nature of their eating disorder and how it manifests. We have many years of professional experience in eating disorders, and are aware that meal times at Newbridge are likely to be less emotional than at home. We are able to establish patterns and problem-solving strategies which are then replicated at home.”
Nurses as key workers
Key workers are a very important part of the service at Newbridge House. As soon as a young person is admitted, they are allocated a key worker, who will be a senior nurse. The young person will have designated one-to-one time with their key worker each week. The idea is that the key worker is an advocate for the young person and the ‘hub’ at the centre of all the different professionals involved in their care. The key worker will liaise with parents and Newbridge staff, ensuring the young person’s voice is heard and they are aware of their care plan.
We recently introduced an innovation called ‘Getting to know me’ to help ensure the understanding gained by our key workers is shared among staff.
“Every young person will have different things which trigger anxiety, and different approaches which help them to cope, and the key worker helps to really understand this and help us to work with each young person in the most effective way.”
Nursing skills and training
We are an accredited training organisation for nursing degree students who can undertake placements with us under qualified mentorship. Our senior nurses have undertaken additional eating disorders specialist training and our healthcare assistants are supported with enhanced training and mentoring.
This specialist training and experience is essential for the nursing team who provide 24-hour care and are responsible for safety and responding quickly to issues as they arise.
“Newbridge has always supported me whilst I have been training as a Mental Health Nurse and has given me opportunities to develop professionally before and after qualifying in August 2012.”
About our healthcare assistants
We have a team of high calibre healthcare assistants at the core of our service. Many of them are graduates, often from the field of psychology and others have a background in healthcare. Their work is competency based – this means there is a clear, measurable progression in training, building skills and experience. We have recently recognised the skills and knowledge of this professional group by creating a senior HCA role, working very closely with, and supervised by, qualified nurses.
Continuous care and communication
When young people and their families arrive at Newbridge House, whether for a visit, assessment or admission, they will be greeted by a member of the nursing staff. We understand this will be a very emotional and stressful time for all concerned and do our utmost to provide support.
“When we arrived at Newbridge, we were met with open arms, by lovely people – I still remember it clearly today. The staff have a huge amount of compassion for the girls they care for; for the situation they are in.”
Many of the families we work with live considerable distances from Newbridge; all are in the very challenging situation of their child being away from home for inpatient treatment. Nursing staff at Newbridge are always happy to talk to parents, whether in person or on the phone, to update them on progress and answer questions. This is a key part of our service and one that we feel we do well.
“Living nearby, I visited every day and also phoned a lot, but was never made to feel like I was being a nuisance. Newbridge provided a much needed comfort zone.”