We are delighted to be the proud winners of the ‘Innovation Champion Team Award’ at the Bright Ideas in Health Awards. This celebrates the joint efforts between our Lymphoedema Service and Focus on Living Centre, who worked together and went the extra mile to make sure no patient got left behind during the pandemic.
The awards, now in their 18th year, recognise those who are finding new ways to improve the health and social care system, whether it’s through the development of new products or technologies, changing the way a service is delivered, research methods, or collaboration opportunities. And our team’s efforts ticked many of these boxes.
As Kath Clark, our Matron in Day Services, explained:
“Our entire Day Services team had to adapt to meet patient needs during Covid-19. This included everyone from our clinical admin team, logistics and our wonderful Lymphoedema volunteers, who supported us in going into patient homes during the pandemic.
The award recognises how we developed dynamic and highly responsive services that benefitted patients throughout our community – making sure that ‘no one’ was left behind.”
Jill Lisle, our Senior Sister, went on to describe the changes and research carried out by the Lymphoedema team:
“Within a month we had developed and recruited a new lymphoedema support volunteering role, eventually developing a team of 35 trained volunteers who accompanied nurses on home visits, ensured the safe smooth running of the service and maintained patient numbers.
This work, together with a very successful education initiative to improve the assessment and management of venous eczema in lymphoedema patients, helped patients and reduced the burden on community nurses, GPs, walk in centres and A&E.”
Jen Saunderson, our Sister in our Focus on Living Centre, talked about the changes they made that also helped to support patients:
“Our Focus on Living Centre collaborated with Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust to create new services such as Ambulatory Care and the Combined Supportive Care Service. These new developments allowed us to reach patients who would benefit from earlier access to palliative care.”
Talking about the difference our Focus on Living Centre made to our patients, Jen, added:
“Over 70 of our regular Focus on Living patients told us they felt frightened and alone when advised to isolate during the pandemic. To make sure they never felt forgotten our team quickly adapted to offer weekly online therapeutic and telephone sessions.
“This support helped to resolve practical issues and offered much-needed companionship. Our team established a vibrant online community for our patient group, sharing ideas and resources and encouraging patients to join in virtual groups including exercise classes, crafting sessions and even a weekly coffee morning.”
The award ceremony took place on Thursday 23rd March and Amelia Davies, one of our Lymphoedema Advanced Practitioners was there, celebrating the award win with team mates.
“It was a wonderful night where we met other like-minded teams from the Trusts around the region. We had lots of laughs and we were so proud to win the award which was the icing on the cake! It was truly special as there were some fabulous examples of innovation from other healthcare providers. Bring on next year!”
Dr Nicola Hutchinson, Chief Executive Officer at the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), which organises the awards, said:
“Our 18th Bright Ideas in Health Awards were particularly special as it marked the first face to face ceremony since our last get together more than three years ago.
“Innovation played a critical role in supporting us to get through the pandemic, so it felt very poignant to reflect and celebrate everything that has been achieved within our vibrant and cohesive ecosystem.
“The awards once again highlighted the breadth of entrepreneurial spirit and talent we have within the region’s health and care sector. I’d like to extend a huge congratulations to everyone who took home awards and all the innovators who continue to embrace the challenge of thinking differently.
“There are some incredibly exciting innovations that could make a real difference to people accessing health and care services across the North East and North Cumbria and we are looking forward to supporting these as they progress in the future.”
Kath Clark, was so happy when the team returned to the hospice with the glass trophy:
“Winning the Innovation Champion Team award is a fantastic recognition of all the hard work from staff and volunteers and a great boost to the team.”