Throughout the Pulse Survey and the Staff Experience Stories shared, patient/client care is to the fore. 15% of staff who answered the qualitative question about their worries, comment on current patient/client care and 11% mention future patient/client care among their worries.
Aspects of patient/client care referenced by these staff include concerns around lack of face-to-face contact, care for vulnerable people in the community, non-urgent cases not being referred and patients/clients not coming forward for treatments. In the context of future patient/client care staff also mention worries around potential waiting times and patient/client backlogs.
For 2% of staff responding to the open question, looking after patients is a source of support for them. Several stories explore ways in which staff have developed creative solutions to the challenges facing patients/clients and their families. The NHS Tayside Smile Behind the Mask project was designed to make patients feel more at ease during extended radiotherapy treatment and the film from the ICU team provide support and reassurance to patients and their families.
Story: The Smile Behind the Mask
"In our small Radiotherapy department, we are proud of the rapport we build with all our patients during the course of their Radiotherapy treatment, which can sometimes be over a 6-week period. This everyday communication, be it words or a gentle reassuring smile helps build a strong emotional connection with our patients, not only helping them come to terms with their diagnosis but encouraging openness and trust between patient and professional. However, with the donning of face masks, the change in patient and staff dynamic was clear to see. Patients were unable to recognise staff members as most of our faces were hidden. That encouraging smile and look of recognition and reassurance was no longer visually apparent. We came together to create a template with a photograph showing a smiling member of staff without their mask with their name below. The 'smile behind the mask' badge was such a simple yet effective concept to help patients identify with staff and bridge the gap, where patients were missing that facial expression and staff interaction."
Our Message to the People of Tayside
An ICU multi-disciplinary team put together a video in which staff signpost the support that is available to families and the end of life care the team provides. The film powerfully conveys keys messages around treating patients with dignity and respect and “holding their hands and telling them they are loved".
North Lanarkshire HSCP team put forward 5 stories, 4 of which illustrate work done to support patients in the community.
One team provide practical support for vulnerable people in the rural community around Coatbridge. The illustration in the story is just one example of how the team helped an individual cope through the difficulties of lockdown:
Glenboig Development Trust Averting a Crisis
"We’re supporting vulnerable people across the area with food and/or medicines deliveries and wellbeing/befriending calls. We’re also working with partners across Coatbridge to coordinate this. Both staff and volunteers worked collectively during the COVID-19 restrictions to respond to the community's needs and ensure continuity throughout the period."
NHS Lanarkshire North HSCP
The same HSCP provide a second illustration of support in the community, through the work of the Motherwell Rehab Team. This story also notes the benefits for the staff involved through empowerment and upskilling.
In response to staff concerns for the welfare of their service users, the team adapted their approach and note that many of the changes will remain in the future:
Wishaw Locality Support Service - Making a difference
The service set up support strategies for staff and service users (social media platforms, shared well-being walks, through the window meet-up’s) to protect their mental health. The team also developed new systems such as daily contact across the teams to make sure staff stayed connected and could share their thoughts about how the service could continue to be purposeful.
NHS Lanarkshire North HSCP
Following is a story from NHS Lothian, one of several examples of "COVID-trees" on which staff and patients have been able to share their feelings:
The COVID Tree – Ward 208, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
“Ward 208 at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh added the Covid Tree to their ward following the success of the Scotland-wide "What Matters to You" campaign. Following the success of this campaign, the team looked for a way to take this on to the next level whilst adding a visual aid for all to see within the ward. The Covid Tree was considered an opportunity to reflect upon the feelings and thoughts of both patients and the team at this difficult time and a box of paper leaves and apples was made available next to the tree for patients and team members to add to the branches of the tree."
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