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7 inspiring stories of staff who have made a difference

Our talented staff are behind some of the biggest positive changes here at RBCH.

They have created improvements that have benefited staff wellbeing, effectiveness and patient care.

To celebrate them and their hard work, here are 7 inspiring stories of staff who have made a real difference.

1. Lauren Daughtrey, Louise Seaward, Kelly Edwards and Freya Barnett - Dementia and Delirium team

Lauren Daughtrey, Louise Seaward, Kelly Edwards and Freya Barnett

The dementia and delirium support outreach team were announced as compelling winners of the 2019 Quality Improvement poster competition this December.

The team won the judges award for making improvements to the service, which helps discharged patients with unresolved delirium recover at home in their own environment.

Speaking about the project, team lead Louise Seaward said: "The team looked at difficulties and found there were inconsistencies in the service with the staff. We wanted to make sure it was consistent and sustainable so we made changes.

"We created a criteria for patients to be part of the service, which included them having to be in a 10 mile radius with no unnamed illnesses and not accessing any other mental health services in the community."

Louise said they had supported an additional 50-60 patients home since September 2018 as a result of making the improvements.

She said: "We have managed to reduce average length of staff to five days for our cohort of patients, avoid readmissions along the way and provide a three month open access for our patients that go home under the service.

"The feedback we have received from carers and patients has been excellent.

Lauren said: "Overall we're really pleased with outcome of project to support patients home earlier, with delirium.

2. Emily Collom and Rosanna Thurlow, Acute Physiotherapists in Acute Therapy Team - supporting colleagues' emotional wellbeing

Emily Collom and Rosanna Thurlow, Acute Physiotherapists in Acute Therapy Team

"It can be very emotionally demanding working in acute therapy and sometimes we forget to check in with ourselves and our colleagues about the emotions that we have to deal with on a daily basis."

That was the problem Emily and Rosanna wanted to fix when they put some support structures in place so people could recognise what burn out and compassion fatigue looked like.

"We also wanted to promote wellbeing and support sessions that allow for peer reflection so we can share our shared emotions - we call it peer detox, because actually we're all going through similar things and it's okay to feel this way."

Emily said they had received lots of positive feedback on the in-service training and peer reflection sessions.

"It's reassured people that it's okay to feel this way and people from all different roles and experiences will all be going through lots of similar things.

"It's okay to share and it's good to share those feelings."

3. Soo Keen, Deputy Sister and Cynthia Southgate, Ward Clerk, Orthopaedic Unit Ward 7 - Butterfly Box for palliative care patients

Soo Keen, Deputy Sister and Cynthia Southgate, Ward Clerk

When a patient enters into palliative care, there’s nothing more that nurses want than to make the remaining days as comfortable as possible for them and their families.

But complicated paperwork in numerous places was making that process hard for nursing staff.

That's why Soo and Cynthia decided to improve things to help staff be more professional and organised at a difficult time in their patient's lives.

"We're really good at nursing our patients, but at the end and out of respect for our patients, it made life easier to have the paperwork all in one box", said Soo.

"It's called the Butterfly box, because it's part of the palliation team.

"The doctors know that if they have someone that needs end of life care they know they go to the Butterfly box to collect all of the paperwork.

"When a patient dies the nursing staff have got all the paper work there, so it made it much easier for them to be more professional in front of the family.

"The patient's family really liked that, because it was much smoother".

Cynthia said: "It's been very positive for patient relatives, they have they've really come back and thanked us so much for helping them through the difficult time."

4. Jen Rains, Physiotherapist, Intensive Care Unit - Delirium

Jen Rains, Physiotherapist

Intensive care patients are often at risk of developing delirium - also known as acute confusion.

That's why physiotherapist Jen Rains introduced basic techniques to help them, such as mobilisation and making sure they get a good night's sleep.

She's now won money from Health Education England to contribute towards the project.

She said: "In intensive care we have patients come in who are acutely unwell and have all the risk factors of developing delirium.

"We identified this was a problem, not only with our delirium patients, but that we weren't actually measuring that they were delirious.

"We have started to measure the delirium experienced by patients and we have introduced some basic techniques, such mobilisation, orientating patients and making sure they get a good night's sleep.

"We are really looking forward to seeing how it develops in the next year."

5. Katy Legg, Radiographer, RBCH - Say No to Plastic Waste

Katy Legg, Radiographer

We all need to reduce plastic waste to help the environment and a hospital is no different.

So when radiographer Katy Legg spotted the wasteful single-use plastic bags used to carry patients' belongings, she decided to act.

Katy spoke to her colleagues in Infection Control and together they hatched a plan to use sturdy plastic trugs, which can be wiped down and reused for other patients instead.

So far the initiative has saved the hospital £1000 in the last year and has led to a considerable reduction in plastic waste.

"The next steps are we are hoping to get round the rest of the department - CT and MRI and spreading out around entirety of radiology - and then hopefully, if it works, the rest of the hospital as well," Katy said.

6. Sue Davies, Surgery Matron - Sleep Well campaign

Sue Davies, Surgery Matron

Quality sleep is key to good health - it is the body's time to rebuild, restore and rejuvenate, and it's most important to have it when recovering from a serious injury or illness.

However wards can be very noisy places with equipment, squeaky doors and mobile phones causing broken sleep for many patients, putting them at greater risk of falling, slower recovery and increased vulnerability to pain.

That's why Surgery Matron Sue Davies, with the help of Improvement Facilitator Emma Willett, ran a Sleep Well campaign to encourage staff to reduce the noise on wards at night and aid patients' recovery.

Sue worked with a patient volunteer and teams across the hospital to come up with ways to reduce noise, including:

  • Recruiting sleep champions for the wards
  • Asking staff to reduce routine night-time observations if they're not medically essential
  • Dimming the lights where possible from 11pm
  • Avoiding late patient transfers to reduce noise on the wards
  • Reducing noise coming from squeaky doors and gates
  • Asking patients asked to switch all devices to silent and use headphones used where possible
  • Asking patients to use ear plugs and eye masks where possible
  • Asking staff to wear soft-soled footwear to reduce any noise from movement
  • Asking patients about their sleeping routine upon entry onto a ward, and tailoring their care plan to fit preferences.
  • Draft guidelines and posters on protecting sleep

Sue said: "The problem was patients were not getting quality rest. We know this impacts their recovery and therefore length of stay.

"I feel really passionate about this. It's really important for those on late shift to make the environment more restful for patients."

Since the campaign in April, Sue and Emma have developed an action plan to tackle the problem further, including developing a local sleep well policy to support current draft guidelines.

Sleep Well campaign

7. Carol Skillen and Vicky Nicholson - Surgical Frailty and Discharge - Get Up Get Moving campaign

Carol Skillen and Vicky Nicholson

Being immobile, in bed and wearing night clothes when not medically necessary can lead to muscle deconditioning, loss of functional ability, physical independence and mental wellbeing.

That's why Carol and Vicky ran a campaign with their colleagues in September to get older surgical patients out of bed sooner to speed up recovery, reduce immobility and protect their independence.

Carol said surgical teams encourage their patients to get out of bed and moving throughout the year, but the campaign aimed to re-educate staff of the importance of getting patients up and out of bed as soon as they're medically able to, rather than waiting for therapy.

She said: "With new education, staff are now getting patients up from day one which frees up our therapists to do the more important things as people are coming through the door."

Vicky said: "Patients' morale is much better as they are getting home quicker as they are able to get up and look after themselves and get home quicker. We encourage independence."

If you're inspired by any of these stories and would like to find out how you can drive improvements, please contact the Quality Improvement team on improvement@rbch.nhs.uk