Award win shines a light on helping elderly hospital patients retain their independence

Monday 18 August 2014

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28-14 cliftonAn innovative project to support elderly patients as they recover from hospital treatment has been recognised with a regional award and been selected as a finalist in the national Nursing Times awards.

The team from Clifton Ward, an acute rehabilitation ward for older people at Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, won the Wonderful Workforce Solution of the Year category at the annual Health Education Wessex Shine Awards, with the judge’s comment that “this initiative to empower patients and carers is really at the forefront of thinking about changing how we see the NHS.”

Older patients can deteriorate when they are in hospital, away from their usual surroundings and routines. This can lead to a longer stay in hospital and difficulty being able to cope at home after they are discharged.

The Clifton team designed training for all staff, from doctors and nurses to housekeepers, to enable them to have ‘coaching conversations’ with patients and their families. The project was funded by The Health Foundation, an independent charity working to improve the quality of healthcare in the UK.

The team wanted to create a sense of partnership, changing interactions from being highly task-orientated to a coaching/support approach. Now staff do not simply help a patient to the toilet, for example, but they talk to them as they help about how they will manage at home and what support is in place for them, encouraging them to take an active role in their recovery and prepare for a return to routine daily life.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Associate Director for Workforce Development, Beverley Harden, who led the work with The Health Foundation, said: “Recovery is a joint responsibility. We also involve carers and relatives, for example encouraging them to take the patient for a walk or to the café for a cup of tea when they visit rather than sitting by the bed.

“This project was about changing the quality of the conversations between staff and patients, to ensure the patients are partners in their own care rather than passive recipients.”

Clifton’s Recovery Coaching project has also been shortlisted in the Nursing Times awards, in the Care of Older People category. The team were shortlisted from more than 700 entries overall and the winners will be revealed at the end of October.

Hampshire Hospitals Chief Nurse Donna Green said: “We are delighted that the team from Clifton ward has been recognised with this award after all the work that they have put in, but the real reward is the improvements in recovery for our patients.”

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Notes to Editors

Photograph attached of some of the Clifton Ward team celebrating their achievements.

The Shine Awards recognise excellence in education and training in the NHS across Hampshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight and South Wiltshire. The Wonderful Workforce Solution of the Year categorygoes to the team or individual who has improved patient care through analysing who does what in a team, unit, ward, or practice and then introducing new roles and/or changing the skills of people in the team.

Find out more about The Nursing Times awards click here

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