A project to help home care staff and families and friends who are carers recognise if the health of people they are looking after is getting worse has been awarded £30,000 in development funding from the Health Foundation’s Q Exchange.
The Quality Improvement project is being run jointly by the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) Patient Safety Collaborative and NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
It is aimed at reducing avoidable harm, enhancing clinical outcomes and improving the experience of patients in the community by helping domiciliary care staff and carers to look out for signs of deterioration through use of the ‘Stop and Watch’ tool.
This is an assessment tool that can be used by staff to spot ‘soft’ signs of deterioration and take early action for example, if someone is not talking as much as normal or needs more help than usual.
The Stop and Watch tool has been used successfully in residential care by Riccall Care, a family run home care business that provides support to 300 people in the York and Selby area and two homes in Sheffield as part of the Sheffcare Group.
Diane Mougan, Manager at Riccall House, which has been testing the tool said: “Stop and Watch gets staff to consider what might be causing the issue and think about actions for example are they constipated, they can then act accordingly. It doesn’t just identify deterioration but also changes in condition – for better or worse. It allows staff on subsequent shifts to see how the resident has been, so they can judge if they are deteriorating or actually remain the same or improve.”
Initially the project will work with Riccall Care, which has over 150 staff in its team, including a certified training department that acts as a hub for other local care businesses to use for all their training requirements.
The team behind the successful bid were Mel Johnson, Programme Lead for the Patient Safety Collaborative at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN and Sarah Fiori, Senior Quality Lead at NHS Vale of York CCG.
Mel commented: “Initial engagement with home care teams has been extremely encouraging and positive.
“People see the relevance and importance of this work and want to contribute. The potential to reduce harm and improve quality for individuals is anticipated to be significant.”
Tony Jamieson, Director of Transformation and Improvement, added: “Q is a very exciting community of Quality Improvers hosted by the Health Foundation. Yorkshire & Humber AHSN has a strong track record in supporting the development of Q and the Q Exchange.
“We are delighted to contribute to the Exchange in its first year and even more delighted that this worthy project was selected by the community to receive the funding. This project will improve the lives of vulnerable people and support nation-wide learning on ‘softer signs’.”