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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

County stroke team nominated for top award for supporting patient wellbeing

MR1401 Northants Community Stroke Team

A community stroke team has been nominated for a top patient safety award for a scheme that enabled staff to be trained in psychological support and wellbeing.

The Northamptonshire Community Stroke Team – based at Northampton General Hospital - have been shortlisted in the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Awards 2023 in the Mental Health Safety Improvement Award category.

The nomination is for their Rehabilitation and Wellbeing Coaching programme which equipped 65 staff to be trained in supporting stroke patients with psychological issues following the trauma of having a stroke.

The training covered the Community Stroke Team – which consists of various therapists, rehabilitation staff and specialist nurses – and also other hospital staff including healthcare assistants, a consultant and administration staff.

Community Stroke Team Lead, Leanna Luxton, said: “We know that having good psychological support improves outcomes for stroke patients and we were keen to do something to reduce waiting times for this.

“So we arranged for our multi-disciplinary team members to attend a two-year training programme to enable them to provide psychological interventions using a wellbeing coaching model.

“Earlier work with 100 of our stroke patients showed us that patients do not start their stroke journey with persistent and severe psychological distress.

“They do however, routinely have issues related to trauma, anxiety, and grief, that can impact on their ability to participate in rehabilitation, and have issues with identity and purpose, that can impact on their recovery.”

After the training was delivered staff helped coach patients to improve their overall health and wellbeing looking at all aspects of their life. They also offered wellbeing training including breathing, meditation, visualisation, and mental rehearsal techniques.

Leanna said: “The therapy for patients is delivered by our team’s therapists but all of the staff who have been involved in the training contribute because they understand what we are all working together to achieve.”

As a result the new model of support has resulted in:

· Patients being able to access psychological support within 48 hours to a week

· Length of stay of patients with the team has decreased by 10% - showing that patients have achieved their rehabilitation goals more quickly

· Patients have attended 100% of sessions offering online meditation, mindful art, Pilates, and yoga.

· 100% of patients have received a wellbeing assessment and support for wellbeing

A patient on the hospital’s stroke forum said: “This provides an end-to-end pathway of support from hospital to home which is amazing. I definitely feel if you get this right then you will not have people feeling like I did when I had my stroke – hopeless and helpless.”

The benefit for staff is also significant.

A rehabilitation assistant said: “I feel like we are so patient centred. It has been amazing to learn how to support the whole person, rather than just their physical rehabilitation.”

A therapist said: "I was really scared about opening Pandora's box, but now I have the skills to really help people find themselves post stroke."

Northampton General Hospital’s Director of Nursing, Nerea Odongo, said: “Congratulations to the Community Stroke Team for being shortlisted for this prestigious award for their amazing work in supporting our stroke patients on their journey through hospital and back to home again.

“This innovative approach to support the wellbeing of our patients has helped us to deliver much more rounded care and reduced demands on NHS psychology services at a time when they are under significant pressure.”

Next the team will have to give a presentation to a HSJ judging panel in July.

Final award winners will be announced at a ceremony in Manchester Central on September 18.

Posted on Tuesday 20th June 2023
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