A trust in Leeds is creating a national network of expert nurses to help lead work on transition for young people into adult services, following a £1m funding grant.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has been awarded a further £1.3m from the Burdett Trust for Nursing to continue a three-year transition project that was first set up at the Leeds Children’s Hospital in 2015.
“Ideally, it would allow us to provide a co-ordinated and unified approach to transition”
Head of nursing at the Children’s Hospital, Anne Stanton, told Nursing Times that as part of the latest funding approved in December last year, the trust will help implement four “regional nurse advisors” that will work in the North, the Midlands, London and the South.
Working collaboratively with NHS Improvement, the new nursing posts will help highlight the Model of Care for Transition for young people, which the trust has been working on in Leeds.
The regional nurse advisors will work to contribute to a “national transitional toolkit”, as part of its drive to provide a “co-ordinated and unified approach to transition,” she added.
Ms Stanton noted the initial funding in 2015 was used to develop an exemplar Model of Care for Transition, which worked with all the clinical services across the trust, to ensure that young people were actively prepared for the transition into adult services.
According to the trust, since the funding and project work, there has been a gradual change of ethos in care. It stated that young people are now working much more closely with health professionals who are now seeking their opinions in order to improve practice.
“Owing to the success of that project across the trust, the chief executive of the Burdett Trust for Nursing asked us to submit an active grant application to support the developments on a national transition nursing network,” she said.
By rolling out their project nationally, the trust aims to inform and influence services for all young people, aged 11-24, who have a long-term illness which require movement between services to provide on-going care or monitoring.
“It is about exposing nurses to some of the strategic work that goes on across the country and this is just a fantastic opportunity for nurses”
Ms Stanton highlighted to Nursing Times that the issue with transition has been “a wicked problem in healthcare for many years”. The team in Leeds had tried a number of different ways to support transition through its services previously, but she said that “we just didn’t seem to be able to get it right”.
“Now, this is an opportunity to use charity funding to really open up the issue and to use a quality improvement methodology and make a difference,” she added.
Having a national team of specialists nurses working towards one common goal was imperative to the project’s delivery, according to Ms Stanton.
She said: “It is about exposing nurses to some of the strategic work that goes on across the country and this is just a fantastic opportunity for nurses who already have knowledge and experience and expertise in transition, to take that to the next level.”
Speaking of the nursing posts, she said: “Ideally, it would allow us to provide a co-ordinated and unified approach to transition and we expect that they would look to match transition work across the region they work in.”
“We want to build sustainability into these models, so we want these to work five, 10 years down the line,” she said. “We don’t just want this to work for the lifetime of the project.”
In addition, regional nurse advisors will also be advising on training and education, she noted.
“It is imperative that there’s an underpinning in training and education in the programme that supports specialists in transition so that they can give the best care possible to young people moving through the services,” she said.
For the process of national roll-out, Ms Stanton told Nursing Times her organisation would be asking for expressions of interest from other trusts, to host the nursing posts and then it would work with those organisations that are on board to unpeg a recruitment process in their area.
“We want to work with any organisation that is currently, as we were previously, struggling with transition and wanting to have support,” she noted.
“Nurses are best placed to support delivery of a coordinated transition process for young people and it is really important to get transition right for them”
Louise Porter, lead nurse for healthcare transition of children and young people at the children’s hospital, has been leading the project in Leeds so far.
In an interview with Nursing Times, Ms Porter highlighted how the role had allowed her to develop as a nurse, particularly in terms of leadership skills.
“It’s allowed me as a nurse, and I am very proud to be a nurse, to be able to raise the profile of nursing leadership and the role within healthcare transition and actually raise the profile of age appropriate care development and the appropriate care in transition as a whole,” she said.
Speaking of her role in leading the project, Ms Porter added: “We believe nurses are best placed to support delivery of a coordinated transition process for young people and it is really important to get transition right for them, moving from children into adult’s services.
“We think that nurses are clinically credible within the multidisciplinary team and nurses are often the ones that have the meaningful relationship with the young person,” she said.
“At times we discuss the wider holistic issue, obviously medical, but also the wider holistic issues that may impact or impede on their transition process,” she said. ”Some of the holistic issues could be around education or employment or relationships, mental health and wellbeing as well.”