Month: October 2020

Health and wellbeing interventions in healthcare

Health and wellbeing interventions in healthcare

This blog summarises a rapid review of health and wellbeing interventions in healthcare, published by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES).

Last week Zofia Bajorek and Jenny Holmes from the Institute for Employment Studies published their rapid review of health and wellbeing interventions in healthcare. The review captures papers published in the last 10 years which focussed specifically on wellbeing interventions (both physical and mental wellbeing) in healthcare settings. They review two types of intervention; those focussing on treatment (e.g. once a health and wellbeing issue has been identified) and those focussing on prevention (e.g. interventions to prevent a health and wellbeing issue). Below is a summary of findings taken direct from the executive summary, its well worth a read. To find out more take a look at their paper (


  • timely access to face-to-face physiotherapy treatment resulted in a reduction of self-reported pain and increased productivity
  • early access to a telephone-based sickness absence management service which provided quick access to interventions also led to reported reduced levels of sickness absence by those who used the service
  • interventions that focussed on both the promotion of physical exercise and improved nutrition were reported to result in positive changes in health behaviours
  • stress management tools delivered via a web-based programme was seen to reduce self-reported nurse stress, with participants who spent more time on the programme reporting greater improvement
  • in some cases ‘psychological based’ interventions could improve mental wellbeing, including more ‘person-directed’ approaches to reducing burnout, and mindfulness-based stress reduction courses


  • studies suggested that a ‘whole-systems’ approach (i.e. focussing on a number of different schemes to address different aspects of employee wellbeing) could be beneficial for improving both quality of work and wellbeing outcomes
  • developing appropriate ‘spaces’ in the physical healthcare environment (for example, rest, sleep and eating facilities) helped healthcare staff feel valued and supported by their organisations
  • a range of ‘group-based’ mental health interventions were also identified to provide safe spaces for staff to openly reflect and share the various challenges they experience within their role (e.g. Schwartz Center Rounds’)
  • other mental health interventions thought to be helpful include those that focussed on ‘wider aspects’ of work, including team interactions, flexibility and autonomy, and interventions that healthcare staff actually ‘want’ and think will be effective

The authors highlight the variability in quality of evidence and methodology and conclude “The results indicated that there is currently limited evidence of a ‘best-practice’ intervention, and there may not be a one-size fits all solution to wellbeing interventions. However, the interventions that did have positive uptake and where positive wellbeing outcomes were reported were those that included a ‘whole-systems’ approach where healthcare staff could engage with the interventions that best suited their needs”. (p3)

How to boil a frog….

How to boil a frog….

This blog from our HWBI Ninja, Rob Sanderson considers what we can do to spot stress and practical things we can do to acknowledge it and minimise the negative impact on our health and wellbeing.

What?!! I hear you ask, why would anyone want to do that? Firstly, I don’t condone boiling frogs, please don’t try this! I love frogs and even built a pond for them at the bottom of the garden, so, to be clear, it’s not something I have tried or intend to.

So how do you boil a frog?

It shouldn’t be at all possible. Frogs are sensitive to temperature. Regardless of this, in 1872, scientist, Heinzmann experimented and concluded if you increase the heat of the water very gradually, the poor frog doesn’t notice until it’s too late.

What has this got to do with health and well-being?

Firstly, I wanted to be sure I had your attention (you are still reading, right?) and secondly because it’s an excellent metaphor for the point of this post:

Just like our ill-fated frog, millions of people are [metaphorically] boiling themselves alive with stress and anxiety. The rise in this pressure is so gradual they don’t realise until it suddenly gets too much.

As a psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist, the most common conditions I help people with, are stress and anxiety, related. While many people recognise stress or anxiety, a surprising amount do not. Symptomatically, it’s evident when people are experiencing stress and anxiety, yet they don’t realise it. People explain, “I don’t suffer from stress, I just want to stop biting my nails,” or “I don’t have stress, I drink too much,” “eat too much,” “can’t sleep,” “have headaches,” “anger issues,” etc. sure signs of stress. Surprisingly, some clients have been so unaware of their extreme stress levels until it manifested itself physically when they were rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack. I call this stealth anxiety.

How can I spot the warning signs?

Some of the physical signs of stress and anxiety include poor sleep, frequent need to use the loo, stomachache, sudden weight gain or loss, breathlessness, headaches, palpitations, sweats, tiredness and fatigue. The effects on mental health can include, panic attacks, lack of concentration, anger, feeling uneasy, depression and low mood.

It’s not too late, act now to turn the heat down or jump out!

Being positive is a natural defence against stress, anxiety and depression. As a Solution-Focused therapist, people are encouraged to look for the solution rather than focusing on the problem. Being solution-focused is powerful against stress and anxiety because finding solutions reduce stress. One way of doing this is by practising what we call the 3 p’s, which are to think positively, be active in a positive way, and to interact positively. When we do this, we create patterns in the brain that are proven to help fight stress, anxiety and depression.

On a positive note, here’s a happy ending!

In 2002, Victor H. Hutchison, a zoologist reveals, that more recent experiments show as the water is heated, the frog tries to escape, and eventually jumps out.

If you are worried about stress, anxiety or depression, you can talk to your GP or arrange an appointment with a talking therapist. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me using the link below.

Rob Sanderson

Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapy

Help Hypnotherapy | Liverpool & Merseyside

Photo by Darko Pribeg on Unsplash