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Therapy and nursing ward partnership helping patients go home earlier

20 September 2017

An innovative project which has seen therapists and nurses working alongside each other to help improve patient care at Worcestershire Royal Hospital has been showcased at a national conference.

 LKindleyandVBosworth 200dpi

Lucy Kindley, a physiotherapist and Ward Manager on Evergreen Ward, was a key speaker at the King’s Fund ‘Harnessing the Value of Allied Health Professionals’ event earlier this month where she presented a paper on how joint working between therapy and nursing staff on her ward has seen a reduction in the length of time older patients in particular have had to stay in hospital.

Evergreen Ward is jointly led by Therapy Ward Manager Lucy, and Nurse Ward Manager Vicky Bosworth. It was opened at Worcestershire Royal Hospital last winter as part of a range of initiatives to help improve patient flow across Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. The aim of the jointly-led ward is to promote a culture of independence amongst patients in order to aid their recovery and reduce their hospital stay. The results have been positive, with 40 per cent of patients who would previously have required discharge to a community hospital for ongoing rehabilitation, being able to go straight home instead.

Lucy said: “Vicky and I having a shared role and respect for each other’s professions and shared learning has influenced a happy team who work across traditional barriers. We respect that we are all qualified professionals and that the core of our role is caring for the patients. We use our professional skills when appropriate, and will lead treatment and discharges as the most appropriate professional for the patient. Our patients get themselves washed and dressed as best they can and we support with what they are unable to manage alone. It is every member of the team’s responsibility to promote patient independence and our patients blossom when given the opportunity to have control back.”

“The King’s Fund conference was a great platform to share our experiences and hopefully inspire others to look past traditional barriers to how their service can evolved to being the most appropriate way for working for them.”

Vicky Morris, Chief Nursing Officer at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said:“We are delighted with the feedback we receive about the care that Lucy, Vicky and all the team on Evergreen continue to deliver.  We have seen really positive results which are not only helping with some of our patient flow issues, but importantly are improving the care and experience our patients are receiving. We are now looking at ways that we can share the Evergreen philosophy across other wards in the Trust.”

Allied Health Professionals are the group of staff more commonly known as therapists. They provide many of the services in our hospitals - supporting patients recovering on our wards and providing expert advice and knowledge in many of our outpatient clinics.  They include but are not limited to physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy services, Dietetics, Pharmacy and Audiology.

Throughout the country allied health professionals (AHPs) – the third largest workforce in health and care - are increasingly playing a key role in integrating health and care services and improving health and wellbeing for people.