The Oxford Health Charity team are thrilled to be able to share the launch of the Emergency Department Psychiatric Service’s* new, charity-funded, EDPS Kitbag Programme at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Patients presenting with mental health difficulties often have long waits in busy Emergency Departments, which can heighten the stress they are experiencing. For those patients who need them, these EDPS kitbags will provide small distraction tools but will also help promote positive coping strategies to manage their distress when faced with these stimulating environments.

Dr Kezia Lange (EDPS Consultant) explains:

“Our patients are often distressed and the busy, noisy department where patients often have to spend several hours waiting for tests, treatment and specialist assessment can add to their feeling of being overwhelmed. The kitbags help patients to feel grounded and calmer, as well as cared for.”

Each bag contains:

  • Small fidget toys.
  • Colouring/puzzle sheets and colouring pens.
  • 1 pack of (vegan) sweets.
  • Information leaflets as appropriate (e.g. a ‘Managing Strong Emotions’ booklet designed by an EDPS staff member).
  • a brief and easy-to-use feedback form.

Staff will be encouraging recipients to complete the feedback form so that the team can review the contents in this latest set of kitbags and make any adjustments as required by the end of the year – ensuring the bags continue to provide the best, and most effective, support for patients.

Dr Lange continues:

“We’ve had amazingly positive feedback from patients and carers, and we are constantly updating the kitbag contents in the light of patient feedback.”

Project lead, Craig Kasongo (Psychiatric Liaison Specialist Practitioner), conveyed his thanks to the EDPS team for their support during the development of the programme – with particular thanks to Dr Lange, Charlotte Ball (Urgent Care Pathway Manager) and Dr Liz Challis (Clinical Psychologist):

“We have a resource that will hopefully bring comfort and calmness to our patients in the Emergency Department ...thank you all for your hard work, support, and dedication. It is because of colleagues like you that we can make a difference in the lives of our patients. I am proud to be a part of such an amazing team.”

Craig also expressed his sincere thanks to the Charity for providing funding for this project:

“I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the Oxford Health Charity, whose support made this project possible. Their generosity and belief in our vision have made a significant impact on the lives of our patients, and we are incredibly grateful for their partnership.”

Oxford Health Charity are proud to have been able to support such a worthwhile project, which will clearly have a substantial impact on patients’ wellbeing. We look forward to hearing how the project develops, as the team collates further service user and staff feedback.

To help support the continuation of this vital programme, a donation can be made here to our Oxfordshire and West Mental Health Fund.

*The EDPS provides psychiatric assessment to patients (aged 13+) presenting with mental health issues to the Emergency Departments at the John Radcliffe Hospital (Oxford) and Horton General Hospital (Banbury).