Partnership team win top UK award

A pilot initiative which has markedly improved the lives of people in care homes in Lanarkshire has won a prestigious UK award.

The Care Home Continence Improvement project, developed by teams in NHS Lanarkshire and NHS National Services Scotland, triumphed in the tightly contested innovation category at the UK-wide GO awards (external link) which celebrate excellence in public procurement, on Thursday 25 October.

The Lanarkshire team was recognised by judges after setting out to improve patient experience by focusing on new approaches to continence care.

Research has identified incontinence as a risk factor that increases skin damage, infection and falls in older people.

The initiative allowed care home staff to improve the quality of care through better recording of processes and introducing small changes including medication reviews and reducing caffeine intake.

The outcomes of the initiative – piloted at Summerlee House in Coatbridge and David Walker Gardens in Rutherglen – has led to improvements including a reduction in falls by 65%, urinary infections being halved and skin damage reduced by one third. The project has also reduced the amount of continence pads used at the homes.

Irene Barkby, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions NHS Lanarkshire, and executive sponsor of the programme, said: “Health and social care integration is now in place across Lanarkshire and our focus is on tailoring care and support around the individual. This project exemplifies best practice and underlines how small changes can make a big difference to people’s lives. Well done to all involved.”

Jean Donaldson, Associate Director of Nursing, South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership and Alice Macleod, Nurse Advisor with NHS National Services Scotland led the initiative.

Ms Donaldson said: “We are delighted to have won this award – it’s testament to the hard work and innovative mindset of a close partnership team.

“We are committed to continuing improvement by sharing knowledge, expertise and looking at new, innovative ways of doing things where necessary. Safety is at the centre of everything we do."

Ms Macleod added: “The GO award is a great platform to promote this innovative, quality improvement initiative in NHS Lanarkshire care homes. This project demonstrates how NSS National Procurement is working in partnership with Health Boards and wider local and national stakeholders.”

Work is underway to explore the wider implementation of the project. You can visit YouTube to view a film documenting the pilot project (external link).

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