2022 Innovation and Best Practice Award winners

The Robinson Memorial Hospital is part of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland which has Community care beds in 5 sites. Robinson Memorial Hospital has 16 beds. In Community Hospitals communication has always been important and staff at Robinson have always tried to communicate well taking time to involve the patient and their family. Prior to Covid, they engaged in a frailty project. This highlighted the need to be even more person centred and involve the patient and their family and loved ones in their care and rehabilitation journey. Engaging the family in rehab sessions was a different way of working but was embraced by the multi-disciplinary team members. This did require a mind shift for staff as the ward routine needed to change to accommodate involvement in therapy sessions and more open discussions. The result was positive. Patients and families were more engaged and communication was more proactive with greater shared decision making.

At the start of the pandemic it was decided between the Trust and Robinson Hospital staff that the ward would provide step-down care for Covid positive patients. One effect of this was that patients were admitted from a wider geographical area. It was a shock for the team to have to move away from this model of open dialogue to a situation where families could not visit and there was no face-to-face discussion. It felt like a step backwards. In the beginning, the team’s focus was on getting to grips with Covid and understanding what they were going to do, how they were going to work, what an assessment would look like and what would be prescribed for patients who were Covid positive. The team thought quickly and creatively about how they could communicate more effectively with families and professional colleagues.