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National cash boost to improve quality of care for the elderly

Friday, 11 July, 2014
National cash boost to improve quality of care for the elderly

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has received a cash boost of £420,000 to further improve the quality of care provided to elderly patients in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Thanks to its existing work to improve quality of care for older people, the Trust is one of only nine NHS organisations across the country to secure a share of £4.6m funding from The Health Foundation, an independent national charity working to continuously improve the quality of healthcare in the UK.

The funding, from the foundation’s Shared Purpose programme, aims to develop new ideas on how corporate support services and clinical teams can work together to improve the quality of care.

The Trust was successful because of the work it is currently undertaking to improve the quality of care of elderly patients in particular those who have suffered a stroke, have dementia or diabetes. This new project will complement that work with staff working in partnership with Age UK North Tyneside to further improve the dignity and quality in the care for frail older people. 

Annie Laverty, director of patient experience at the Trust, said: “We are delighted to be one of only a handful of organisations nationally to secure the funding – this is a real coup for us.

“It is an extremely exciting project which will give us additional resources to really focus on the needs of frail older people – some of the most vulnerable patients in our care. 

“We want all of our patients to feel valued and welcomed onto our wards and be confident that their complex needs will be understood by well-trained and respected staff.

“It is an endorsement of the work we are already carrying out which has led to our patients rating us highly for the care we provide.”

The three-and-a-half-year project will involve working with corporate and clinical teams across the Trust.

It will focus on improving the recruitment and training of staff, the patient environment in terms of promoting health and wellbeing through the use of colour, lighting, layout and signage and patient experience. Learning from the project will be shared nationally to benefit elderly patients across the country.

Annie added: “We want to take time to observe the care being given on our wards to ensure it meets the needs of those with cognitive or communication difficulties. We know that ordinary human respect, kindness, and compassion shown on a personal level has an extraordinary positive impact on the experience of patients and carers.”

Sandra Gray, director of health and wellbeing at Age UK North Tyneside, said: “We are delighted to be given this exciting opportunity to work in an innovative and true partnership style with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to make a real difference to the lives of older people by offering timely support to improve a stay in hospital and the journey to discharge for patients and their families.”

Penny Pereira, assistant director at the Health Foundation, said: “We are excited to be working with these nine organisations and their project teams on our Shared Purpose programme. The successful projects are all seeking to achieve goals that are in some way transformational.

“One of the reasons we wanted to work in this area is because, to date, the quality agenda has largely focused on improving the reliability of clinical services. But clinical teams do not work in isolation. Corporate services have often been overlooked, but we know that they have a significant role to play in improving the quality of care experienced by patients.”

Northumbria Healthcare is also working with Age UK North Tyneside on a project which has secured almost £200,000 funding from the Silver Dreams Fund, the first of the Big Lottery Fund’s dedicated investments in older people in England.

The project will involve recruiting volunteers to facilitate ward-based activities and use peer support to help elderly patients build their confidence following a hospital stay.


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