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University Hospitals Plymouth shortlisted in six categories at the Patient Experience Network National awards

Six projects from University Hospitals Plymouth were entered into the Patient Experience Network National (PENN) awards, which celebrate the delivery of outstanding patient experience. We’re delighted to announce that all six entries have been shortlisted.

The winners will be announced at the PENN awards ceremony on Wednesday 20 March at the Repertory Theatre in Birmingham.  The finalists are:

ACE Mobile dementia app – Category: Strengthening the Foundation

alt ACEmobile is a dementia screening app which was developed by Dr Rupert Noad, Consultant Neuropsychologist at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and Dr Craig Newman, from the Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine at the University of Plymouth.

The app is the first tool of its kind designed to support doctors and nurses through the whole process of a common dementia screening assessment known as the Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination III (ACE III). The ACE III consists of 19 activities testing cognitive domains including attention and memory processing. It uses the benefits of computerisation, such as onscreen instruction, to empower more members of the clinical team to feel confident in carrying out screening for dementia.

The free-to-use, iPad based tool was designed by clinicians for clinicians and was developed using human factors testing to reduce the error rate when used in clinical practise.

In addition to being shortlisted for the PENN awards, the app was also recognised in 2018 by the Health Service Journal Awards and was named the winner of the ‘Using Technology to Improve Efficiency’ category.


Defence Medical Welfare Service – Category: Working in Partnership

The Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) was shortlisted in the ‘Working in Partnership’ category. DMWS is an independent, national charity which provides comprehensive, confidential, medical welfare support to the Armed Forces community when they are undergoing care for physical or mental health.  Working alongside medical teams in NHS Hospitals and community health facilities, DMWS’ welfare teams deal with issues, problems, or social influences that may prevent recovery. 

Recognising the huge armed forces population in the South of England, Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) worked in partnership with the army’s national charity, ‘ABF - The Soldiers charity’ to secure funding for this initiative. DMWS aimed to see all Military personnel and their families in Derriford Hospital who require additional welfare support.

Since May 2018, DMWS have supported 30 patients admitted to Derriford Hospital and around 40 family members have benefited from support in hospital and at home. The team collect vast amounts of data including changes in wellbeing scores and case complexity, working with clinical and discharge teams to provide the best service.          

DMWS have put community support in place and reduced re-admittance back to hospital for 27 of the 30 patients supported since May. By signposting and referring patients to veteran support groups and befriending services in the community, the DMWS team have reduced social isolation and depression. This has resulted in faster diagnoses and support being put in place for patients.

Working closely with volunteering projects in the community, DMWS have reduced the amount of alcohol related injuries through engaging patients in volunteering projects to reframe the mind and in turn reduce boredom, isolation, depression and the urge to pick up a bottle.

By offering bereavement support to patients or family of patients the DMWS Welfare Officer, Jason Stone has been able to secure funding for funeral costs and referred patients onto further support groups during a difficult time.


Kelly Whitehorn – Category: Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow

alt Student nurse Kelly Whitehorn has been shortlisted for her work developing a student nurse-led lunch support for national Nutrition and Hydration Week.   

While on placement at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, University of Plymouth student Kelly encouraged patients on the acute care of the elderly wards at to have lunch together in the day rooms to bring back the social aspect of lunch. The student nurses were also available to help in the bays with patients who need extra support during meal times – ranging from cutting food for patients to actually feeding the patients.

Kelly said: “Many things had happened to help patients through the week but I noticed there was no student nurse involvement and I wanted to change that. Some patients on the ward were dementia or stroke patients, so they weren’t always able to communicate their needs easily. But we noticed that the simple gesture of cutting food for them enabled them to eat a full meal rather than three quarters or half.  

“It really stressed the importance of how spending the extra time with patients can improve nutrition and hydration and it was great for the student nurses to have exposure to best practice lunchtimes.”


SALUS – Category: Innovative use of Technology

SALUS has been developed by the in-house development team at University Hospitals Plymouth and is a vital operational tool with its primary function to support patient flow. 

Historically, processes were paper based; introducing an electronic solution has meant safer recording and accessibility of information. This means plans can be put in place for inpatients throughout their stay. SALUS displays outstanding radiology requests, transport which requires booking, to take away (TTA) status and any outstanding specialty to specialty requests.

A large amount of time was spent collating information on the bed state and patient status. This relied on Bed Managers walking ward to ward to get information on patient status, numbers of unoccupied beds and how many discharges were expected for the day. As soon as the Bed Manager left the ward, their hand written information was outdated.  The data was not real time and made it very difficult to manage patient flow and bed occupancy for the hospital.

SALUS has revolutionised the way University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust manages its bed occupancy, supporting patient flow and reducing the delays for patients during their stay as an inpatient.

7363 users are registered to access SALUS, which is one of the largest user base for a Clinical System in University Hospitals Plymouth. All PCs and laptops have the SALUS icon on the desktop and training is available face to face or via an eLearning package. For patients, this means that hospital staff are able to access the patient record when required and are able to retrieve and update information with ease.


Staff Mealtime Volunteers – Category: Staff Engagement/Improving Staff Experience

In 2017, an initiative at Derriford Hospital was launched to enhance the experience for patients during mealtimes. A campaign called ‘Making Mealtimes Matter’ aimed to increase the amount of volunteers attending mealtimes on wards across the Trust.

Many factors influence a patient’s nutritional state whilst in hospital. The quality, quantity or appearance of the food, pain, anxiety, confusion, disease or surgery can affect appetite.  The environment and the system itself can also play a part in determining a patient’s nutritional state. 

Having supportive encouragement at mealtimes has shown to improve the nutritional intake for patients.  Where available and appropriate, volunteers offer support to patients during meal times. This includes opening packages, helping cut up the food, feeding a patient, or just sitting and chatting to a patient whilst they eat. The campaign was aimed at non-clinical staff who were interested in having more direct involvement in patient care. 

As an organisation, University Hospitals Plymouth wanted to do more work with staff around mealtimes and in general so that they are given the opportunity to undertake more interesting and rewarding duties to support patients. The feedback from patients is also very positive, as they enjoy speaking to different members of staff and appreciate the extra help needed at mealtimes.

This ongoing campaign is celebrated during the annual National Nutrition and Hydration week.


vCreate - Bringing parents closer to babies in neonatal care – Category: Communicating Effectively with Patients and Families

alt vCreate Neonatal is a safe and secure service that allows hospital staff to record and send video updates to parents when they are unable to be with their child. Parents of premature and sick newborn babies being cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Derriford Hospital receive extra support, through the use of a new video messaging app. Through vCreate, NICU staff are now able to record short video updates for parents to watch when away from the Unit. 

The vCreate Neonatal system has NHS approval and is now being used in other neonatal units around the UK. Until now it had only been purchased through fundraising efforts by individual Trusts. However, Babcock International, who provides skilled engineering services, wanted to help. Thanks to Babcock’s generous donation, the vCreate service is free for parents and the Plymouth NICU to use.

“Having a premature or sick baby being cared for in the NICU can be an extremely worrying time for parents and families,” explains Jo Bennett, Family Support Sister and Neonatal Outreach Lead for the Plymouth Unit. “Leaving your baby, whether that’s to go back home, particularly if you have other children to care for, or just to get further supplies or have some rest, can increase this anxiety further.

“We are always looking for ways we can improve support and make things easier for our parents. So when we heard about vCreate we were keen to find out more and to introduce it on the Unit.”

Wishing all of our finalists the very best of luck at the awards on Wednesday!

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