On the 5 May 2011 at the SHINE celebration event, Manchester Care Homes rightly celebrated the success of the SHINE programme. The event, which was attended by clinicians, GPs, care home staff, residents and their relatives celebrated the success which was achieved within a 12 month pilot funded by the Health Foundation. The delegates heard accounts, from the 6 Care Homes that participated in the project, of their journeys to success.
Within the 12 months of the pilot the care homes achieved significant progress on their targets for example a 46% reduction in the average length of stay after a hospital admission from a care home (16 nights to 8.6 nights) and a 40% reduction in the actual number of nights care home residents spent in hospital (580 to 345 nights).
Better communication across sectors is a key factor in improving the care of patients so a key deliverable of the pilot was to increase communication across the care home and hospital sectors and to promote better working across professional boundaries. In a survey of participating staff a significant number reported the development of 2 or more new professional relationships as a result of the pilot project. The following two quotes from the survey demonstrate the importance better relationships have for care.
‘We are now confident to ask for outside help. We now see other health care professionals as part of our wider team’.
‘We now have better relationships with our GPs. They have more confidence in our staff and we have more respect for each other’s roles.’
Being able to choose where you die and how you die are fundamental human rights for all. However, as you get older and possibly more frail there is the potential for you to lose control of where and how you die. The care homes within this project have made End of Life care and End of Life plans a key part of how they relate to residents and their families. They undertook staff training of care workers to make it easier for them to have such sensitive conversations and thereby record residents’ wishes whilst residents were able to make such choices for themselves. In the participating care homes there was a 91% increase in the number of residents with an End of Life plan in their records. A comment from the staff survey was,
‘We’re much more comfortable talking about end of life.’
Linda Henry, Director of Unique Improvements who supported the project and commissioned the evaluation, said ‘Unique Improvements is proud to be associated with this hard working and committed group of staff. All too often we hear sad stories of lack of care across the NHS and care homes tend to get an unfair proportion of bad press. We have found the care, professionalism and dedication to duty of our colleagues in these care homes to be humbling and inspirational’.