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Faster Physio Results at North Bristol NHS Trust

North Bristol NHS Trust started using the Happiness Programme with 5 interactive light projectors during lockdown and have been one of the first to adopt a hospital-wide approach. The Happiness Programme is being used in communal areas around the hospital as well as across many wards to help patients with spinal injuries and learning disabilities as well as those in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and A&E.  

This innovative approach has led to some incredible results and is providing other NHS settings with a proven business case for therapeutic interventions such as the Happiness Programme to speed up patient recovery time and reduce costs.  

We spoke to two members of the Trusts’ team Michelle Darch and Thomas Maggs about their experiences and feedback… 


“The physiotherapist team have been using it extensively with fantastic results. For example, we’ve had one long-stay elderly patient who has been struggling to get out of bed. Initially we used the projector on the bed and tray tables to encourage small hand movements and as she engaged with what was in front of her, we moved to playing on the floor with her sat on the edge of her bed using her feet. She then progressed to playing on the wall stood up out of bed. It was incredible to see.”  

“The neuro-surgery physios have also found it very useful with learning disability patients and young patients who, for example, have acquired brain injuries and experience cognitive defects. The games are quite straightforward and easy to use, and this allows for positive and immediate engagement compared to following standard exercise routines.”  

“Patients can intuitively pick up the aim of each of the games and become familiar with them. The nursing team have helped support this, but patients have been quick to take control of the gameplay and, as a result, of their own rehab. It’s been brilliant for that.” 

“For the physio team, the results are faster progress in shorter periods of time, all while the patients are having some fun.”  

“A recent example we had of this was when we had a patient in for a second extended time on the ward.  Previously we’ve struggled to engage with this patient but through the projector, we shortened their recovery time and length of stay, all by increased mobility and engagement.”  


“And this isn’t an isolated case, we’ve had lots of patients with complex needs refusing or unwilling to engage. We had one patient who was anxious and was wary around people he didn’t know. Each session led to improvements in engagement and led to him getting back on his feet – a huge step forwards in his rehab.  The Happiness Programme has enabled the physios and nurses to turn situations like this around and build positive relationships with patients.” 


“Another big benefit is that it frees up the teams’ time and means other members of staff can support these sessions too – it’s a huge cost saving.” 


“We’ve also been using it in ICU. We had one patient who had been in a nasty road traffic accident. He was severely autistic, and his main carer was killed in the accident. It was very difficult for him as he only had elderly parents in his support network. The projector brought some happiness to his time in hospital during what was a very difficult period for him and his family.” 


“It’s been a great tool but there are still areas of the hospital that don’t know about it and more staff that I know will want to use it. Since the covid-19 pandemic, sharing and promoting resources across the hospital has been difficult but that’s changing now, and the next step is to promote this to the heads of departments and share the impact it’s been having.” 


“Yes, I agree. If anything, we’re under-using it as it’s such a flexible tool. Being so easy to move between wards and being able to project the games on to bedsheets is just so powerful.” 
“Last week was learning disability week which marks a year since we started the Happiness Programme. We had one of the projectors in the atrium and it really helped to drive greater awareness among the staff who expressed lots of interest, as well as among patients and visitors to the hospital.” 
“As a result, we had a couple of other units express an interest, for example the burns unit, so as Tom says, that will be the next step we take in exploring even wider use across the hospital.” 

Not a member of the Happiness Programme?

The Happiness Programme is a first-of-its-kind initiative helping to change the lives of people living with cognitive challenges. We use interactive light technology to provide meaningful activities for residents and patients in care homes and care settings. For more detail on what the Happiness Programme is and how it’s helping care venues across the UK, visit our getting started page.

Alternatively, jump to our dementia, learning disability and NHS pages for more specific detail on how it’s helping care homes like Barchester and HC-One as well as hospitals and local authorities such as St George’s Hospital, London and Westminster and South Kensington Council.

For anything else, you can contact us here too.

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