30 November 2012

Ghana: Nurse Calls for Crises Response Team

A United Kingdom-based Ghanaian mental health worker, Mr. Ebenezer Akonnor Fianko, who is also the Founder of Volunteer Nurses, Ghana, has called on the government, especially the Ministry of Health, to establish Crises Response teams in all the mental facilities across the country, so as to reduce overcrowding in the wards.

According to him, this could be done by training four nurses at each facility, and providing them with a vehicle or motorbike, as well as toll free phones, that would enable relatives of mental patients to call and inform the crises response team about current developments, so that they could respond to their needs as quickly as possible.

Akonnor Fiako made the call during a two-day workshop for 15 nurses from the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital, on Wednesday at Ankaful in the Cape Coast Metropolis.

He explained that when crises response centres were created, it would go a long way to reducing overcrowding at the psychiatric facilities, because these skilled nurses would be able to handle cases that do not need admission.

He further stated that some of the patients usually misbehaved when they were hungry, which the relatives might not know how to handle them.

He added that these trained nurses could use post cards with inscriptions " give me a call" and " how are you" with telephone numbers that can be distributed among relatives of patients, as a way of cultivating friendship to enhance quick response to their needs.

Akonnor Fianko, who received commendation from the nurses for his dedication to imparting the skills he acquired in the United Kingdom to them, appealed to the government to show a keen interest in the establishment of the crises response teams in the various psychiatric hospitals, as a way of improving mental healthcare delivery in the country.

He disclosed that the current situation at the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital, where both male and female patients mix up was not the best, and that everything possible must be done to rectify the prevailing conditions.

He said the 15 nurses selected for the workshop would be trained to serve as change agents in risk assessments at the various wards of the hospital.

The Founder of Volunteer Nurses, Ghana, advised the participants to be wary of their choice of words and gestures which could cause anger among patients. He again, urged them to withdraw from high risk areas, especially when a patient becomes aggressive, so as to avoid being harmed.

The In-service Training Coordinator, Eva Lamisi Soyel, said the workshop had opened their eyes on how to ensure proper assessments of patients at their acute wards where aggressive patients are kept.

She, therefore, expressed gratitude to Akonnor Fianko for his commitment to imparting knowledge he had acquired abroad to them.

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