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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Integrated Care in Action Week - our final blog

Small dumbell weights on a table, with a training shoe

Historically, hospitals have been dominated by a culture of rest. That said, public health experts say that if exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented.

Physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality, and energy which are key factors to overcome illness.

With this in mind, we piloted the use of physical activity as part of the treatment to help patients recover sooner and better.

Our Trust, in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and Sport England, has been running a pioneering programme called 'Active Hospitals' which aims to explore integrating physical activity interventions in a secondary care setting. A case study about the successful results of the pilot has been published by PHE.

The programme has been piloted in different departments across our Trust. Each department became a separate 'pathway'. These included Prosthetics in the Oxford Centre for Enablement, Renal Transplant in the Churchill Hospital, and the Complex Medicine Unit, Cardiology (TAVI team) and Maternity at the John Radcliffe Hospital. New pathways are currently being developed in paediatric oncology and peri-operative care too.

Staff working within these pathways have been trained in the benefits of physical activity and motivational interviewing. The teams have developed exercise classes, patient information leaflets and videos as well as bed-based, chair-based, and standing-exercise programmes suitable for inpatient use which can be adapted to patients' mobility level.

A physical activity calculator has been added into the electronic patient record to assess patients' physical activity levels. An interactive map on ZeeMaps has been created and a community navigator is on board for patients and clinicians to identify all the possible support available in the patients' community to facilitate physical activity and link to suitable community classes and activities.

Following our successful pilot, our teams are hoping to help other departments across the Trust to further integrate physical activity within their services and link with existing services, such as Here for Health.

They have also collected all the findings, learning and experience gained from the pilot in an 'Active Hospital Toolkit' which will be formally launched in January 2021.

It is hoped it will be used by other trusts across the UK to embed physical activity within patients' treatment.