SWASFT Wins Best Care of Older People Prize at Patient Safety Awards

The Trust has won a national award for a new initiative to improve patient care in local communities.

SWASFT was given the Best Care of Older People accolade at the Health Service Journal’s 2018 Patient Safety Awards on Monday 9 July.

The scheme involves Community First Responders (CFRs) across the region attending incidents in which patients have had a non-injury fall, but are unable to get up.

Responders can now assess and move patients from the floor to a sitting or standing position, using the lifting device and with support from clinicians in the 999 Control Hubs.

The initiative means more frontline resources, such as ambulances, are freed-up for higher priority calls.

Rich Buckley, SWASFT Acting Responder Manager, said: “This is a fantastic recognition of all the efforts of the whole project team. Moreover it is a wonderful acknowledgment of the hard work put in by all of our trained Responders. They give their time freely to support patients in their local communities in a robust and safe way. Without them this fantastic scheme could not work.

“The NHS is built on a spirit of giving to and going the extra mile for patients, and our Responders epitomise that spirit. In my 23 years of service, this award is one of the things I’m most proud of.”

According to clinical research, one in three people over the age of 65 who live at home fall during a 12-month period.

Non-injury falls patients had faced lengthy waits for ambulance services, because their call was not high priority compared to other patients in life threatening conditions.

The concept was developed in 2017 as a way to attend and assess these patients more quickly, developing the skills and experience of CFRs and with help from clinicians.

The Lifting Scheme Project Team are: Joseph Harvey (Clinical Hub Systems Support Officer), Katy Richards (Clinical Lead), Charlotte Thomas (Project Manager) and Rich Buckley (Responder Manager).

Nigel Toms, an experienced CFR, tested the concept by attending a selected number of appropriate incidents with a lifting device. He was able to manage the vast majority of the patients effectively, without needing any additional crew.

During a six-month trial involving more than 300 incidents, CFRS successfully assessed and lifted around three in four patients without the need for an ambulance to attend.

More than 60 CFR groups in the South West are now participating in this scheme.

The initiative provides numerous benefits including: an enhanced response to patients, increased skill set of responders, financial and time savings through more effective deployment of resources, and a vital proactive response to the ageing population.

CFRs are trained volunteers who attend emergency incidents on behalf of SWASFT within their local communities. There are around 1,000 CFRs providing lifesaving support to patients across the region.

SWASFT covers one of the most rural areas of the UK, and is committed to providing the population of the South West with the highest standard of out-of-hospital care.


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