Lisa Marrett, Head of Quality, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services at Avon and Wiltshire Partnership NHS Trust shares her thoughts on seeing human rights in action

When I applied for my Trust to take part in BIHR’s project Delivering Compassionate Care: Connecting Human Rights to the Frontline, I was working as Lead Nurse for Standards and Compliance which had both a compliance checking function but also a quality improvement function. It was in that role that I became aware of BIHR and the project. I later became the Service Improvement Lead for the locality of the ward that took on the project.

Impact of using human rights

I applied for our rehabilitation ward, Windswept, to be part of the project to help us embed a human rights approach to our work. My role has been to promote the project and get it off the ground in my organisation. Staff on Windswept are now much more confident about talking to service users about human rights. The staff created a questionnaire for service users to complete (with assistance) to ascertain how much they knew about their human rights. From that baseline information about what people did or did not know, they then began to develop care plans that incorporated the ethos of human rights. Later on, the staff redesigned the ward round template so that human rights were considered in every discussion about choice and making future plans with people.

Challenges

The challenge was staffing issues. We recruited Human Rights Champions on the ward to take the lead, however it needed all of the team on board and those staff were changing frequently. This made implementation of changes and new ways of working challenging at times.

Embedding the approach

Working with BIHR helped us to embed a human rights approach because the quality of the training was outstanding. We were able to bring live cases to the training and BIHR’s facilitators effectively gave us supervision and helped us with problem solving on some complex situations on the ward, such as neglect of self-care and respecting people’s possessions. These are both addressed in the toolkit we co-produced Rehabilitation and Human Rights. My colleagues at Windswept now have plans to roll out the programme in Secure Services.

My take on human rights

Freedom of choice and freedom of expression. Dignity and respect.