Nurses from private care homes will be able to ask senior NHS nurses for advice and help following the launch of a new website run by a Manchester primary care trust.
The Independent Sector Clinical Leads Network will allow nurses from the independent sector, as well as the NHS, to put questions to NHS Trafford’s chief nurse, Claire Heneghan, and other senior specialist nurses.
Ms Heneghan said the secure network would help to reduce the professional isolation that nurses working in small private care homes can experience, and help to improve their practice.
She said independent care home nurses will be able to ask NHS service leads questions on anything from diabetes to end of life care. Senior nurses will answer questions personally, and although this may be time-consuming, Ms Heneghan said it would be worth doing.
“If we can help to make nurses in the private care sector feel part of the wider nursing community then that is a positive step forward,” she told Nursing Times.
“And we must remember that a lot of our elderly and vulnerable patients are treated in the independent care sector,” she said.
A number of organisations including Greater Manchester West Mental Heal Foundation Trust, various advocacy services, and Trafford Carers’ Centre, will contribute to the website, and it will feature a document store where policies, procedures and best practice documents will be held.
The network is part of the PCT’s strategy to support the independent care sector.
As part of the strategy, Ms Heneghan hopes to make the virtual network “real”, with quarterly face-to-face meetings, and the PCT - in conjunction with the local authority - will undertake quality assurance visits to all Trafford nursing homes.