Three innovative NHS projects have received national recognition at the Positive Practice in Mental Health (PPiMH) Awards.
The projects, namely Respond, the Pathway Support Team and a Sleep Well Project were all led or coordinated by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, a provider of mental health and learning disability services in the North East and North Cumbria.
The Respond Multi-agency Mental Health Simulation Training was recognised with the Seni Lewis Award. Dedicated to the memory of Olaseni Lewis, the award was set up by his family along with Police and NHS in London to recognise collaborative initiatives between health services and the Police.
Respond is a unique simulation training package for professionals involved in mental health crisis care. The training was developed by the Trust on behalf of the multi-agency steering group, which includes a range of organisations, including Northumbria Police, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, North East Ambulance NHS Trust, Newcastle City Council, and Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead. It is also supported by North Tyneside Council.
The training allows professionals who may be involved in mental health crisis situations (police, mental health nurses AMHPs, paramedics and psychiatrists) to learn from each other, and from ‘Experts by Experience’ – people with lived experience of mental health crisis.
During the training all participants explore real-life scenarios together, stepping into the shoes of different professionals as well as crucially the person in crisis. Respond-trained professionals leave the session with a clearer understanding of each other’s roles, so that every agency can respond quickly and effectively, without the tensions and time delays that can arise from uncertainty about who should do what.
Claire Andre, Clinical Police Liaison Lead for the Trust and Nurse Lead for the project, said: “Respond is a fabulous training initiative, which gets everyone to see things from others’ perspectives, and most importantly the person in the centre. To win this award means so much to us, particularly to hear Seni’s family speak about the importance of working together. We must always continue to learn from such tragedies and ensure we work together to improve practices and ultimately the care we provide to those we serve and care for.”
The Pathway Support Team South of Tyne were joint winners in the Quality Improvement category. The Pathway Support Team’s work was carried out over four Older Peoples’ Mental Health wards at Monkwearmouth Hospital – namely Cleadon, Marsden, Mowbray and Roker – and staff from all four wards were represented at the award ceremony.
The project was started when demand for inpatient mental health beds for older people in Sunderland and South Tyneside was exceeding the supply available.
Nurses needed to be better informed, supported and empowered, so the project team appointed a senior nurse and social worker to support staff to work more collaboratively. Having dedicated staff to support patients’ progression made the service more effective and responsive without compromising on safety or standards of care.
Bed occupancy halved from 58 patients in December 2017, to 29 patients (and 13 empty beds) in December 2018. Average lengths of stay reduced from 95 to 69 days, with virtually no “failed discharges”. There is now no delay from referral to access, and admission is immediately available to the patient’s home locality.
Rob Bailey, Nurse Consultant in the Pathway Support Team, said: “We all had a great night at the award ceremony – winning helps of course, but it is especially meaningful to win this award as the PPiMH group and judges are largely service users, so the awards are judged purely on quality of patient experience.”
The Trust’s Sleep Well Project was also ‘highly commended’ in the same category. This project aims to improve the quality of sleep on inpatient wards, focussing on feedback from patients themselves, alongside objective measures of noise, light and sleep
Promoting a good night’s sleep is essential when individuals need to get the most out of their assessment and therapy. Small changes have had a big impact – such as replacing some bins with silent-closing lids, and encouraging staff to reduce and review observation intervals to reduce disturbances at night – have made a big difference to patients’ sleep quality.
PPiMH is a collaborative group of seventy-five organisations, including NHS Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups, charities and service user groups. The group aims to promote and improve mental health services by identifying and promoting positive practices, working together across organisations and sectors to encourage shared learning.