What should I expect during my hospital stay?
Your physical wellbeing contributes to your mental wellbeing.
As part of your admission to the ward, a doctor or nurse will carry out a physical examination. This will assess your current physical health.
Throughout your stay, the nursing staff will ask you if they can monitor your physical health. How well you are physically will determine how often these checks need to be done. This will be explained to you.
The doctor or nurse may want to carry out further tests to complete your assessment. Your intervention plan will reflect any physical health needs you may have.
If you have concerns about your physical health during your admission or stay please talk to your nurse or doctor. Staff are available at any time to talk about health issues you may be experiencing.
Assessment and examination of physical health
You will be offered, and encouraged to have, a physical assessment and examination within 24 hours of your admission to an inpatient unit. This helps identify any physical health needs you have. It will also allow us to continue any care or treatment you may have been receiving.
The doctor or nurse may check:
- respiration rate (breathing rate)
- oxygen saturations (amount of oxygen in your blood)
- blood pressure
As well as carrying out:
- blood and urine tests
- an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check your heart.
During this examination, the doctor or nurse will ask about:
- your medical history
- any family history of certain conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
Results from these examinations help staff monitor your health during your hospital stay.
Tests may be carried out before you start medication and at regular intervals whilst you are taking medication.
Do I have a choice about the assessment and examination of my physical health?
Yes. If you do not want a physical health assessment and examination, please discuss this with a nurse or doctor.
We will ask your permission to do any tests and will explain what will happen and why we are doing the test.
If you are not sure why a member of staff is offering you a physical health assessment and examination then please ask. Every physical health test offered to you is important for your wellbeing. You will not be offered any unnecessary tests.
We know that having tests and answering questions about your health can sometimes feel overwhelming, particularly when you first come into hospital. If you would like these to be carried out at a different time, please let us know and we will arrange this.
Please let a member of staff know if you have any concerns.
During your physical health examination and assessment, the doctor or nurse will ask you if you take any prescribed medication. It would also be helpful to let a member of staff know about any herbal or over-the-counter medicines you may use.
Why is my physical health being monitored?
Everyone is at potential risk of developing physical health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
Some factors can increase that risk including poor diet, being overweight, lack of physical activity, smoking and certain medications.
Some medications prescribed to treat your mental health diagnosis can cause side effects which can impact on your physical health such as weight gain. This is why your healthcare professional team will ask to regularly monitor your physical health and encourage you to eat healthily, be active and stop smoking.
As part of your inpatient stay, you may be asked about your lifestyle which will include questions about your diet, level of exercise, whether you smoke, drink alcohol or take any un-prescribed substances.
Eating a healthy balanced diet is important to keep your whole body working well. Healthy eating can help control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you are concerned about your weight, ask a member of staff for advice on where you can access help and support.
What can I do to keep a healthy balanced diet?
- Try and eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day; this can be fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced.
- Try not to skip meals, especially breakfast, as this can cause your mood to worsen and make you feel irritable, tired and hungry.
- Green vegetables contain B vitamins which may help improve your mood.
- Reduce the fat, sugar and salt in your food.
- Look at the food labels – the more green on the label, the healthier the choice.
- Staying active with a mental illness can be especially important as it can help improve your mood and reduce your stress levels. Building activity into your day keeps your heart healthy, reduces your risk of serious illness and strengthens muscles and bones.
What can I do to stay active?
- Do an activity that is enjoyable. If you don’t know what that might be, try a few different things like gardening or walking.
- Being active outdoors is especially good as sunlight directly boosts your mood.
- Walk to the shops instead of going by bus or car, or get off the bus a stop earlier.
Drinking more than the recommended daily alcohol limit can damage your heart, too much alcohol can cause high blood pressure.
What can I do to reduce my alcohol intake?
- Swap to a drink with a lower percentage of alcohol.
- Try having a soft drink or water between every alcoholic drink.
- Find ways to unwind that don’t involve alcohol e.g. regular exercise, yoga or meditation.
Stopping smoking can improve your physical health, reducing your risk of developing physical health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It can also improve your mood and reduce anxiety.
The Trust takes people’s health and wellbeing very seriously and introduced its nicotine management policy from 9 March 2016 when all Trust sites became smoke free.
Smoking cessation and nicotine management advice and support is available for patients whilst in hospital.
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health and quality of life. Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are all substances which can impair sleep quality.
What can I do to improve my sleep?
- Routine – stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
- Relax – a calming environment away from bright lights and TVs helps separate your sleep time from activities.
- Naps – avoid napping if possible, especially in the afternoon.
- Exercise – vigorous or light exercise can help you to sleep.
Your mental health team is here to help you; work with them to lower your risk of physical illness and take control of your future health.
If you would like further information about healthy lifestyle changes, speak to the staff in your inpatient unit.
If you would like to do your own research, the following websites are useful sources of information: