St Richard’s Hospice has launched a free virtual education network to offer support and share knowledge with care homes in the county to help them during the cornavirus crisis.
The Education team at the Worcester-based hospice already works with care homes to support them with training and guidance around providing the best possible end of life care.
In the current pandemic, they have stepped up their support and will use ECHO telementoring technology – standing for ‘Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes,’ a not-for-profit movement to improve care by collaborative problem solving.
The ECHO sessions will cover a number of topics and how they relate to COVID-19.
Donna Jones, Head of Education and Learning at St Richard’s said, “Through this ‘tele-mentoring’ model education sessions are delivered from our hub at the hospice and participants attend remotely from any location, which in this time of lockdown is invaluable. As a result, staff are able to access from home or from work, using either tablets, laptops, a desk top with a web-cam, or if they prefer, a personal smartphone.”
Ms Jones added, “With the help of this technology we have already been able to deliver COVID-19 specific training to 45 staff within care homes to support their residents through the illness. And we have enquiries flooding in for more training in coming weeks. Our last informal Zoom meeting had 30 attendees from care homes across the county. We were also able to invite other health professionals such as the Infection Control Lead from the Clinical Commissioning Group, Emma Snead, to be able to support conversations around Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing. ”
The sessions will include support from specialist guest speakers, Dr Maggie Keeble – GP Geriatrician and Palliative Care Consultants Dr Nicky Wilderspin, Dr Simon Challand and Dr Claire Curtis.
Ms Jones explained, “The ECHO sessions will enable a shared focus, support of each other as well as allowing members to develop resources together, exchange experiences, skills, knowledge, tools, and ways of addressing recurring problems. This model results in clinicians feeling supported to provide excellent specialist care to residents in their own communities, across a wider population base through collaborative problem solving and peer support from specialists.”
Recent feedback on virtual training include from Miss Lazin Ndlovu from Austen Court Care Home in Evesham, “ I would like to thank you for the video call group meeting, it was useful and a huge help for me as a Care Home Manager because at times it can feel like you are all alone.”
The St Richard’s team is continuing to care for patients and families across Worcestershire during the pandemic, albeit in very different ways. The community nursing teams are working very differently to protect patients and themselves from the spread of the virus and to enable them to meet the extra demands on the service right now. Following government guidelines, they are minimising direct face to face contact where possible to shield patients and families. But they are continuing to care and support people over the phone or by video call, and if a visit is essential St Richard’s nurses will be visit, wearing PPE to make sure everyone is protected.
One of the hospice’s innovations is a 24-hour, enhanced Hospice at Home service, to help patients and their loved ones continue to access our care when they need it.
The service allows quick access to a senior clinician to help with complex symptom management at the end-of-life and will also provide, and teach, practical, physical care. Other hospice health professionals are also part of the team, allowing faster access to equipment and physiotherapy support.
The St Richard’s community team is working with NHS district nurses to deliver this service, which will help shield patients from coronavirus infection as far as possible, by enabling them to stay safe in their own homes for as long as they can.
The In-patient Unit is continuing to care for patients at Wildwood Drive, whilst the Living Well Service has moved to a virtual model with support given remotely, such as by video calls, telephone, virtual clinics etc.
The Family Support Team is currently supporting 700 patients and family members across the services. They have quickly adapted to using new and creative ways of working to ensure support continues for people who were already unwell, isolated, bereaved or distressed.
St Richard’s Hospice cares for adults with a serious progressive illness, improving their quality of life from diagnosis, during treatment and to their last days. It also supports their loved ones.
Each year the hospice team supports more than 3,400 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire.
St Richard’s is an independent charity and relies on donations and gifts in Wills for the majority of its income with 22% funded by the NHS.