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Community trust earns accreditation for staff-led scheme to boost time with patients

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A nurse-led scheme to give frontline NHS staff in Gloucestershire the “power to improve services” has been formally accredited after three years of work.

Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust has become the first community provider to receive formal accreditation for the Listening into Action (LiA) scheme.

“Just a little bit more time produces a better outcome for that patient”

Dawn Allen

Since 2013 the trust has been using the LiA approach, which encourages clinical staff to test and make changes they think will improve patients experience.

Examples of such staff-led schemes include providing support for carers at community hospitals and venues, new standards for end of life care, a redesign of complex care for children using parent feedback and a new system to give community nurses and therapists more time with patients.

From 2017 the trust will use the LiA Kite Mark from founder Optimise Limited. LiA has been used at more than 60 other trusts across the UK, noted Paul Jennings, chief executive at the trust.

He said: “We are the first NHS community services provider in the country to receive the LiA Kite Mark, which recognises the commitment, energy and creativity that my colleagues have put into improving care.”

“It’s been a really positive approach, empowering staff”

Caroline Osborne

Dawn Allen, head of community nursing, said she had sat down with her nurses and therapists to develop working practices that gave them more time to assess and treat patients.

She said: “That work has been focused on giving colleagues the right amount of time to devote to each person right from the start of their care. When we do that we find ourselves working more efficiently and the outcomes for patients improve.

“Many of our patients can have complex needs and that means we have to allow time to understand them and to learn what is needed,” said Ms Allen.

“For example, we may be visiting someone to treat an infection, but if we don’t take the time to assess them fully we may be back a few weeks later because they also had a pressure sore,” she said.

“Just a little bit more time produces a better outcome for that patient, so we are giving colleagues that time. It means we look at all the needs that each person has, instead of treating what we know about and moving on to the next appointment,” she added.

The children’s complex care team provides home based care – sometimes up to seven days a week – for children with continuing health care needs. Staff worked with parents to improve communication and invested in new sensory equipment to improve the quality of care during visits.

Caroline Osborne, who manages the service, said: “It’s been a really positive approach, empowering staff to work together with families to ensure that we provide high-quality child-centred care.”

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