05 February 2014
A report published today sets out the future for community nursing and other community healthcare staff in Kent and Medway
Nursing leaders across Kent and Medway have been working with academics from Canterbury Christ Church University to explore what community healthcare staff will need to do to offer patients the very best care as close to home as possible in the future.
Community healthcare staff such as district nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists, play a crucial role in the NHS. They visit people in their own homes or in residential care homes, providing care for patients and supporting family members. As well as providing direct patient care, they often have a teaching role, working with patients to enable them to care for themselves. They help to keep hospital admissions and readmissions to a minimum and ensure that patients maintain their independence so they can return to their own homes as soon as possible.
With an ageing population and more people expected to live longer with multiple long term conditions, the demand for community nursing will grow. Rather than simply look at how many of what type of role will be needed in the future, this report sets out the skills and knowledge that will be needed in the community healthcare workforce to offer patients the best, most joined-up care, keeping them healthy wherever possible, and making sure they have all the support they need to return to life as normal as possible after they have been ill.
The report, ‘A Scoping Project to Develop a Shared Purpose Framework for the delivery of First Class Nursing Services across Kent and Medway’, was commissioned by the NHS England Kent and Medway Area Team which is responsible for providing nursing leadership and workforce planning across the region. The project was also supported by Swale, Medway and Dartford and Gravesham Clinical Commissioning Groups and the research was carried out by the England Centre for Practice Development which is hosted by the Faculty of Health and Social Care at Canterbury Christ Church University.
Nursing teams from Medway Community Healthcare, Kent Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and the clinical commissioning groups from Swale, Medway and Dartford and Gravesham all took part in the research.
Ruth Williams, Assistant Director of Quality Assurance, NHS England Kent and Medway Area Team, said:
“Healthcare is changing, and we need to make sure that we have the right community nurses with the right skills in the right places to give our patients the very best care. District nurses and other community healthcare staff can play a vital role in helping people to manage their long term conditions and remain independent and get back on their feet when they are ill.
“Rather than simply looking at our population and saying we will need more of this type of nurse, or more of that type of nurse, we want to look at how care could be delivered in the future and the kinds of skills and knowledge and ways of working that we’ll need in our community nursing and wider care teams to ensure our patients get the very best care. This isn’t just about job roles, but about making sure compassion remains at the heart of what our community nurses do.”
Carrie Jackson, Director of the England Centre for Practice Development, said:
“This project has produced a framework that puts workplace culture at the heart of delivering a first class community nursing service. It has piloted a workforce tool that will enable practitioners to demonstrate the vital contribution they make to delivering compassionate care close to home, and will support commissioners work in developing the right workforce and skill mix for the future to promote safe staffing.
“The project has received national attention at the Chief Nursing Officer’s Summit held in December and has just received further funding from Health Education England, Kent Surrey and Sussex to extend its scope in the South East of England.”
Colours Reducing Falls is an award-winning programme launched at the Livingstone Hospital in Dartford, run by Kent Community Health NHS Trust. All patients are assessed by the physiotherapy team, which decides how much help they need and what their risk of falling might be. They are given a red, yellow or green wrist band to alert other staff.
Senior Physiotherapist Sam Gohir at Kent Community Health NHS Trust said:
“We trialled this programme two years ago as a simple way of making sure all staff in our hospital knew the needs of every patient. It allows us to take into account all the factors that might affect a patient’s fall risk, such as if they have dementia, mobility issues or a lack of confidence.
“It has worked fantastically well and in the first six months the number of falls at the Livingstone had reduced by 50 per cent.”
Patients who are most at risk and need close supervision are given a red band, those with a yellow are improving but still need some assistance and those with a green band are considered to be independent. Patients are monitored throughout their stay at the hospital by the nursing team.
June Gildea, 75, from Gravesend, suffered a fall at her home and fractured her hip. After an operation at Darent Valley Hospital she was moved to the Livingstone Hospital for treatment and rehabilitation.
When June arrived at the Livingstone, she was assessed by the physiotherapy team and given a yellow band. After a series of exercises and therapy, she progressed to green before being discharged.
June Gidea said: “I really like the colourful arm bands because it means all the people caring for you know how much help you need. I felt like I had won a medal when they promoted me to green. It has given me the confidence to know I will be ok when it’s time to go home.”
The system has been so successful that it has been launched on the Sapphire Unit at Gravesham Community Hospital and will be rolled out across all community hospitals run by Kent Community Health NHS Trust.
Notes to Editor
- The England Centre for Practice Development is hosted by the Faculty of Health and Social Care at Canterbury Christ Church University. It is part of an international network of practice developers who are members of the International Practice Development Collaborative (IPDC). It is committed to the innovation of services and practices at the point of care to ensure that they are person-centered, safer and more effective. For more information visit: www.canterbury.ac.uk/health
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.
With nearly 20,000 students, across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.
- 94% of our recent UK undergraduates are in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
- We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2012 UCAS).
- We are one of the South East’s largest provider of education, training and skills to the public service careers.
*2011/12 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey