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Two nurses short-listed for national NHS compassion awards

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A pioneering end of life nurse and a nurse who has led the way in patient-centred emergency care have been short-listed for an award that recognises outstanding contributions to the delivery of compassionate care.

Mel McEvoy and Catherine Baldock have been named as finalists in the Kate Granger Compassionate Care Awards, which recognise professionals, teams and organisations that have made a real difference.

“Once again, it has been extremely difficult to choose this year’s finalists”

Jane Cummings

Now in their fourth year, the awards were set up by terminally ill doctor Kate Granger who worked tirelessly to raise awareness around compassion the in the NHS with her #hellomynameis social media campaign.

Mr McEvoy and Ms Baldock, who have both spear-headed initiatives that put patients and families at the centre of care planning, are the two short-listed candidates for this year’s individual award.

Mr McEvoy, a nurse consultant in palliative care, was nominated for his work in developing the Family’s Voice Diary, designed to boost communication between families and healthcare professionals delivering end of life care.

He introduced the resource at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and it is now used in several other health service organisations, having been shown to improve care planning and ensure timely specialist help.

“I feel it is so important to make sure that patients’ views are considered”

Catherine Baldock

Meanwhile, Ms Baldock is credited with spear-heading the ReSPECT approach to patient care in emergency situations, which helps ensure patients’ wishes are discussed and recorded.

Designed to address the many problems around do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions, it provides a single national standard for documenting patients’ views making it easier for staff to see what patients want and act accordingly.

Ms Baldock led the implementation of ReSPECT at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust in December 2016 and is now the clinical lead for rolling it out across the NHS. She said she was “shocked” to be nominated for a Kate Granger award.

“It was such an honour,” she said. “I feel it is so important to make sure that patients’ views are considered. This nomination is really for all of my colleagues at UHCW for working tirelessly to provide patients with the best care possible and put them at the heart of these important decisions.”

The acute stroke unit at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and the End of Life Companion volunteer service are the finalists in the team category.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

Catherine Baldock

Catherine Baldock

Meanwhile, NHS RightCare’s High Intensity User programme, which started in Blackpool and is now running in 37 clinical commissioning groups, and the Macmillan Caring Locally volunteer team at Christchurch Hospital in Dorset are up for the organisation award.

The finalists were chosen by a panel that includes Kate Granger’s husband Chris Pointon and chief nursing officer for England Professor Jane Cummings.

Mr Pointon said there had been many “fantastic” entries for the awards this year and it had been a tough task deciding on the shortlist.

“Kate was very proud of her legacy and of how the awards have been embraced by the wonderful NHS staff,” said Mr Pointon.

“The nominees are exceptional and will highlight the dedication and commitment of everyday people who work in the NHS,” he said.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, this year will also see the inclusion of a special award for each of the past seven decades to individuals who have made a significant contribution to compassionate care.

All winners will be announced on 5 September as part of the Health and Care Innovation Expo being held in Manchester.

Shortlisted nominees for Kate Granger Awards:


Individual Award

Mel McEvoy (Nominated by: Laura Keen)

Mel McEvoy, Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care, was nominated for being forward thinking and innovative in the delivery of palliative and end of life care for patients. Putting the patient and family at the centre of planning and care, he introduced the Family’s Voice Diary at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust which is now used in several other NHS organisations.

Feedback and published research relating to the Family’s Voice Diary shows this work has made a huge difference to patient care empowering families and loved ones to contribute to end of life care and engage with health professionals through the Family’s Voice Diary. Improved communication channels between health professionals, patients and their loved ones has enabled earlier intervention by specialist teams and greater planning for the provision of care.


Catherine Baldock (Nominated by: Federico Moscogiuri)

Catherine was the first person in the UK to embrace and implement ReSPECT – a new, patient centred approach to making recommendations about emergency care and treatment. Catherine led the implementation of ReSPECT at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust in December 2016. She is now clinical lead for the implementation of this approach across the NHS.

ReSPECT is an extremely innovative approach to delivering coordinated, person-centred care in emergency situations, where a person is unable to make or express choices. ReSPECT was designed to address the many problems around the use of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions and places the patient at the centre of decision making. The ReSPECT process is fully applicable and scalable across all care settings in all of the four national NHS systems, and is fully compatible with Advance Care Plans. It provides a single national standard for recording patient preferences and removes unwarranted variation.


Team Award

Acute Stroke Unit at City Hospitals Sunderland (Nominated by: Fiona Carney)

Supporting stroke patients experiencing difficulties in communication can be difficult for both families and health professionals alike and many stroke survivor patients with communication problems say that they sometimes feel invisible. The stroke team showed dedication, care and commitment in developing an ‘all about me’ booklet that brought to life the use of whiteboards.

The patient (if able) and family help the nursing team to get to know the patient on a personal level by helping to populate the whiteboard. Families are encouraged to bring in photographs or draw pictures so that the whole nursing team can use the information to help engage with their loved ones and enable conversations. The initial pilot evaluated well with overwhelming positive feedback from patients and families. Nursing staff use the visual whiteboard as a communication tool, especially if the patient becomes anxious or restless.

This is an excellent example of how, by listening and learning from feedback provided by patients, their family and friends and staff involved in their care, continuous improvement can be achieved.


End of Life Companion volunteers (Nominated by: Jacky Taylor)

The End of Life Companion volunteer service is for patients who are in their last days of life and is non-judgemental, inclusive and compassionate, acts with integrity, sensitivity and understanding.

The Companions are there to support the patients especially if they have no visitors, as they believe that no one should die alone. Companions can also be there to support families and loved ones at this most difficult time, offering a listening ear, access to information such as free parking, somewhere to shower etc. They also support the busy ward staff, alerting them if the patient begins to show signs of discomfort, promoting the timely administration of medication to maximise comfort.

The Volunteer Services Coordinator ensures that the Companion is contacted usually be telephone after each visit for debrief to see how the visit went and ensure that the Companion is supported.

Comments from families regarding the service have included: “A huge weight off my mind to know someone is there when I can’t be.”

“Really helpful to have someone there to talk to.”

“Thank you so much for your kindness to mum and sitting with her in our absence.”

A staff member said: “I Just wanted to say how lovely they all are volunteering to sit with patients who are alone and particularly when patients are nearing end of life and need someone to be with them for comfort and reassurance. Thank you all! You do a fantastic job!”


Organisation Award

NHS RightCare’s High Intensity User Programme: (Nominated by: Rhian Monteith)

NHS RightCare’s High Intensity User (HIU) programme, now running in 37 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), is helping some of the most vulnerable and lonely people in society to flourish, whilst saving NHS resources through sustainable reductions in A&E attendances, 999 calls, and non-elective admissions.

The HIU programme began in Blackpool, based on an idea from an advanced paramedic who saw first-hand, the effect that individuals utilising urgent health care more than expected was having on those people and the services responding to them.

From this seed, a national programme developed and is spreading at pace and scale. By offering an inclusive, empathetic and listening approach, hospitals following the principles of the HIU programme see a reduction in A&E attendances and non-elective admissions of between 50 and 85 percent. Feedback shows this approach has a positive impact on people’s lives, including a reduction in self- harm, improved self-esteem and increased self-worth.

One client said “I have seen around fifty professionals over the past two years including social workers, psychiatrists, nurses, occupational therapists and psychologists. My HIU worker is the first person to fully understand my needs.”


Macmillan Caring Locally Volunteer Team (Nominated by: Anita Rigler)

In 2010 the Macmillan charity invested in a review of volunteer support for the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch Hospital. This work resulted in the development of several new volunteer roles and a complete review of training and support for volunteers. Volunteer team leaders who manage their own teams of volunteers where then established.

The results have been remarkable and by 2017 a significant increase in the number of volunteer roles had been achieved with a 300% increase in volunteers at the unit, contributing more than 21,000 hours.

Their volunteer training programme has received awards. Highly skilled volunteers work together through a team leader to create a peer led supervision process too, so as to provide a high level of support for those supporting patients at end of life.

Some examples of support provided are: Supporting the blind wife of a deceased patient to help arrange his funeral; turning out late at night to bring in a patient’s wife as her husband deteriorates; and after a young patient expressed sorrow at never being able to see a Christmas tree again, volunteers produced a fully adorned Christmas tree outside her room within half an hour.

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