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Combatting hospital boredom during COVID-19

13/05/2020

Therapy staff at the Horton General Hospital have got inventive to keep patients entertained during the pandemic.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – which runs the Banbury hospital – used 'anti-boredom boxes' full of activities to prevent patients getting bored while they spend time in hospital.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, these boxes – which contained games, quiz books, and cross word books among many other things – are unable to be used for the time being due to extra infection control restrictions.

However, also mindful of a restricted visitor policy, the quick-thinking Horton Therapy team were able to put a different activity pack together.

Adam Newberry, a Therapy Assistant at the Trust, said: "By photocopying pages from the books provided in the 'anti-boredom' boxes, we were able to provide patients with fun activities to stop them getting bored while they are spending time in hospital.

"We have put different activity packs together based on different patients' interests, to help improve their experience of staying in our hospitals, particularly for longer periods of time.

"We also included a nice message from the Therapy Inpatient team with a big smiley face on it to make it more personal and hopefully make the patients smile.

"It has been a small bit of work, but it has made such a positive difference to our patients at this time."

One of those to benefit from the activity packs is 94-year-old Winifred Donovan, who was cared for in the Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU) Ward for three days in April. Having felt unwell with chest heaviness, her health has improved significantly following her treatment at the Horton.

Banbury resident Winifred, who enjoys art, quizzes, word searches, and colouring in, said: "I had a really excellent time, and the staff were all very nice and kind to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the activity packs as it gave me something to do in hospital.

"I'm not very mobile so am having to spend a lot of time at home alone trying to find things to help pass the time. The activity packs have rekindled my passion for drawing and colouring again and I am now doing much more of it at home."

Adam, who has made around 120 activity packs for all wards at the Horton, added: "The activity packs have gone down extremely well. It has been heart-warming to see the selection of goodies make such a difference to patients, especially with Winifred who requested extra pages to colour in, and was very excited about giving these to her family when she went home."

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