Wellbeing pilot helps reduce hospital staff stress levels by a quarter

By Tim Aldred

12 Mar 2024

YOLO NHS

A pilot programme conducted by Preston-based YOLO Wellbeing has helped reduce the stress levels of hospital workers by more than a quarter, according to a study by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

YOLO spent six months visiting the Royal Lancaster Infirmary on a monthly basis offering staff from the emergency department therapy incorporating massage and meditation, delivering 290 sessions in total.

The accredited therapy, designed specifically for the workplace, targets the nervous, endocrine and musculoskeletal systems to effectively, and quickly, reduce physical and mental stress. Techniques include acupressure, tactile, fascia stretching, myofascial release, mobilisation and trigger pointing, which is combined with guided breathing, YIN yoga stretching and visualisation.

A total 42 people accessed the service and received up to four 15 minute sessions. Using the Maslach burnout inventory (MBI) to monitor levels of occupational exhaustion, UCLan researchers from the School of Health, Social Work and Sport found that 54.76 per cent of participants reported feeling stressed, tired, burnt out, and/or exhausted before treatment and 79.17 per cent reported they felt more energised, relaxed, less stressed and re-charged post treatment.

Feedback also showed that participants felt like their mood and stress levels improved after even one treatment.

Dr April Melia, lead researcher, said: “Our assessment shows that YOLO Experience Therapy provides improvements in mental health status, mood, energy levels, and a reduction in stress, anxiety and feelings of burnout.”

"100 per cent of respondents felt their mood improved. 95 per cent said their energy levels improved and 95 per cent of those who said they were experiencing stress said it was lower. In addition, 99 per cent of staff who responded felt their performance improved, with 57 per cent saying it had ‘improved ‘a lot’.

“YOLO is delivered in a relatively short treatment session when compared to other treatments, therefore it is a more realistic timescale for staff leaving their workplace without significant disruption to the rest of the department.”

Cheryle Britton, managing director of YOLO Wellbeing, enlisted the help of UCLan via the Lancashire Health Matters Programme, a collaborative project funded by ERDF involving the University and the Innovation Agency, to seek a real-world validation assessment of the impact of workplace intervention to reduce stress and burnout in NHS critical care staff.

Rebecca Mellard, occupational health and wellbeing officer at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Colleagues at UHMBT found the YOLO Wellbeing massage a really positive experience, many wished that they could make it a weekly session as they felt relaxed, at ease and the tension lift straight away."

Cheryle said: “We’re thrilled with the results of the trial. They provide a strong case to support NHS Staff at a time when shortages, absence and morale are key challenges for the service.”

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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