Local hospital wins Gold in NHS England Awards for supporting patient’s improved mobility and recovery

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals’ (DBTH) announces Gold Award success in the NHS England Reconditioning Games, with an initiative to improve patient mobility and recovery seeing huge success 

The “Get Up, Get Dressed, Get Moving” project was launched in November 2022 on Ward 17. Led by Therapy Assistant Practitioner in Falls, Jo McQuade, in collaboration with the Trust’s Quality Improvement (Qi) team, the initiative aimed to address the pressing challenge of hospital-acquired deconditioning and its impact on patient safety by supporting patients to become more active, independent and mobile during their hospital stay.  

Hospital deconditioning can occur amongst patients after relatively short periods of hospitalisation due to extended periods of inactivity and bedrest during their care. Posing a risk to a patient’s healthy recovery, it can often lead to problems such as diminished muscle mass and strength – up to 30% in only ten days, alongside joint pain, incontinence, pressure sores and a general decline in mobility – ultimately increasing a patient’s chance of having a fall.  

A photograph of a female representative from NHS England, wearing a colourful dress and black blazer, presenting a certificate with a gold medal on it. Ward 17 colleagues are stood to the right receiving the award dressed in their blue and white clinical uniforms. Above their heads hang gold balloons.
Ward 17 colleagues receive Gold Award certificate in NHS England’s Reconditioning Games.

As an Endocrine and Stroke unit, with up to 30 open beds managed by a large team of healthcare professionals, Ward 17 provided a unique opportunity to engage with both colleagues and patients to tackle the challenges posed by hospital-acquired deconditioning and improve the delivery of care. 

The project set out to have a multi-faceted approach, involving comprehensive engagement from clinicians at all levels and specialisms, by introducing mobility aid training, moving and handling upskilling, equipment training, and education on the harmful effects of deconditioning. This supported colleagues on the Ward to feel more confident and motivated to mobilise patients effectively and fostered a positive culture within the team.  

Colleagues focused on ensuring all patients were up out of bed, dressed and encouraged to walk around. To support with this, mobility goals were displayed above bed areas, individuals were provided with a walking aid if required and offered the use of the day room for a change of scenery and visit from a family member.  

Patients were also encouraged to visit the toilet rather than relying on a commode and staff members actively initiated discussions about the benefits of getting out of bed. 

A group photograph of 12 colleagues from Ward 17. They are all female, dressed in blue and white clinical uniforms and scrubs., smiling at the camera in the ward corridor.
Ward 17 colleagues gathered to celebrate their Gold Award certificate in NHS England’s Reconditioning Games.

The results of this project have been overwhelmingly positive for the Ward, accomplishing lower commode use rates, a decline in physiotherapy referrals and leaving a team feeling knowledgeable and empowered to combat the risks of deconditioning. Patients and their families have also shared positive feedback, recognising the initiative’s importance in ensuring a smooth recovery and helping them to return home quicker.  

Throughout the process, colleagues on Ward 17 played a crucial role in explaining the risks of prolonged bed rest to patients, contributing hugely to a change in mindset among patients and families. The constant presence of a Therapy Assistant Practitioner on the Ward also bolstered collaboration, communication, and cohesiveness among staff at all levels, building a camaraderie between colleagues and enhancing patient outcomes. 

Owing to the success of the project, the team at DBTH have achieved Gold in NHS England’s Reconditioning Games – a national programme which aims to encourage hospital Trusts to raise awareness of and tackle the issues around deconditioning. Earlier last month, representatives from the Emergency Care Improvement Support Team from NHS England visited Ward 17 to congratulate the team and present them with their certificate.  

Jo McQuade, Therapy Assistant Practitioner and driving force behind the project, shared: “We are so pleased to be the first team in the region to achieve Gold in the Reconditioning Games. The success of the project really highlights the power of teamwork and a shared commitment to patient well-being we have at DBTH. I would like to extend a massive congratulations to the whole team for their hard work in making it a success. I hope we can deliver this initiative wider within the Trust, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it has for our patients.” 

A photograph of Jo McQuade receiving a bouquet of yellow flowers during the award celebrations. Her colleagues surround in applause.
Jo McQuade, Therapy Assistant Practitioner, receives special thanks for her contributions in leading the project.

As part of celebrations for the award, Jo’s colleagues were keen to see her receive special recognition for her work in leading the project, expressing personal thanks for her kindness and mentorship throughout. Olivia Ada, NHS Professionals Bank member working within the team also received the Bank Member of the Month Award during the celebrations for embracing the changes and quickly becoming a notable patient champion during the project. 

A photograph of Olivia Ada receiving a bouquet of flowers during the award celebrations. Her colleagues surround in applause.
Olivia Ada receives special thanks for her contributions in embracing the project and championing patient safety.


Colin Hepples, Senior Practitioner in the Trust’s Quality Improvement Team, said: “We are incredibly proud to witness the Falls Team and Ward 17’s outstanding achievement with their ‘Get Up, Get Dressed, Get Moving’ project. This initiative is a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in addressing crucial healthcare challenges and shows our commitment to supporting colleagues with such transformative projects that enhance patient care and safety.”