Engagement through Homely Group Relaxation Program on the Recovery Journey of Patients in Acute Psychiatric Unit

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Authors (including presenting author) :
Tsui AYY, Wong EYW, Chan DYC, Kwok KY, Au Yeung SKF, Wu IHL, Chau RMW
Affiliation :
Physiotherapy Department, Kowloon Hospital
Introduction :
Patients in acute psychiatric unit often feel being constrained and restricted in the gazette ward leading to perceived loss in self-determination and increased stress. Practicing relaxation techniques in a home-like soothing environment may help to engage the patient in alleviating stress arisen from hospitalization and catalyzes their path towards the recovery process through restoration of self-control & determination in relaxation parameters.
Objectives :
To investigate the effects of regular group relaxation program for patients in acute psychiatric unit of Kowloon Hospital.
Methodology :
A regular group relaxation program was introduced in the new gazette ward since its opening on 4 October 2018. Stretching and progressive muscle relaxation techniques were coached by trained Physiotherapist. A small domestic massager was also provided for guided tender spots massage to enhance engagement & facilitate sense of control & choices. The program was carried out daily for 15 minutes on top of regular conventional physical training. Patients joining the additional relaxation program in the new ward were compared with those in the conventional ward.
Result & Outcome :
9 patients (5 from new ward and 4 from the old ward) were recruited from the female gazette wards from October to December 2018. Patients in the new ward showed significantly greater improvement in mental domains reflected in the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (Depression 5.00±0.71 versus 9.00±2.16; Anxiety 5.80±0.84 versus 9.00±1.82; Stress 7.20±0.84 versus 10.00±1.63; all p < 0.05) and the Subjective Happiness Scale (5.65±1.28 versus 3.19±1.43; p=0.032). However, physical domain reflected in Two Minutes’ Walk Test was comparable (p > 0.05). From the satisfaction questionnaire, 80% of the overall service users agreed Physiotherapy interventions improved both mental and physical conditions leading to more awareness of their health. Level of satisfaction was significantly higher in new ward (score 9/10) than in conventional ward (score 6.9/10). Service users also agreed that the relaxation techniques allowed them to relieve their stress during recovery (score 9.4/10). By introducing regular group relaxation program to alleviate the stress during hospitalization, patients are encouraged to take active role in practising making choices in therapeutic activities in their recovery pathway. This program contributed to tune in a soothing atmosphere with opportunity & freedom in making choices on comfort means linking with good start of rehabilitation.

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