• Project led by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust in partnership with educational programme development company The Performance Coach.
  • Focused on an acute care elderly rehabilitation ward.
  • Aimed to empower older patients to become partners in the care relationship and fully participate in their recovery.
  • Staff completed 'recovery coaching' training to help them to use dialogue to build partnerships with patients.

Patients within acute care are often left feeling disempowered by service provision, the ward environment and the attitudes of those caring for them. This can prolong rehabilitation for older patients, with some becoming unfit to return home. The Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust team set out to empower older patients to become partners in the care relationship and fully participate in their recovery.

The project drew on the concept of health coaching to develop a 'recovery coaching' training package for acute care. All staff on an acute elderly care rehabilitation ward completed the training, which focused on using dialogue to build partnerships at all stages of care including rehabilitation, learning about new medicines, self-management and discharge planning.

The team measured the impact of the intervention through patient and staff questionnaires and business intelligence score cards.

Who was involved

The project involved multidisciplinary ward teams including nurses, support workers, medics and allied health professionals. The trust worked with educational programme development company The Performance Coach to develop and deliver the training.


The pilot results suggested that the intervention supported improvements in functional ability and independence on discharge, and reduced pressure on care services. Staff reported that conversations with patients and relatives felt more purposeful, and that the training had given them the skills to have difficult conversations in a constructive way.


Undertaking research on an acute elderly care ward was sometimes difficult due to the medical fitness of the patients and their capacity to give consent for participation.

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