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Staff go the extra mile for patients

Staff on the Acute Frailty Unit at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary are offering patients beauty and hair treatments free of charge during their time in hospital.

Rachel White

Those using their hair and beauty therapy skills are clinical support workers Jean Roberts and Rachel White, who go above and beyond their roles to carry out haircuts and styling, manicures, foot spas and pedicures to make patients more comfortable.

The unit, which cares for up to 15 elderly patients with dementia every year,  was recently awarded an ‘exemplar status’ under the Trust’s Quality Assurance Accreditation Scheme (QAAS) and was commended for its holistic approach to patient experience and care.

Jean Roberts

Families of patients have shown their appreciation by giving the duo bouquets of flowers and chocolates.

Jean Roberts, who is trained in basic foot care and manicure, said: “I think it’s important that patients feel relaxed when they are in hospital – by offering them a manicure or a foot spa it can help to make them feel really special.”

Rachel White, who is trained in hair and beauty, added: “I enjoy making our patients look nice and feel better in themselves – it helps them to keep their dignity while they are in hospital.”

Angela McNally, Ward Manager for Elderly Medicine, UHMBT, said: “I’m really proud of the extra special service my staff offer to our patients to make their experience of our hospitals even better. Our unit really celebrates the creative skills our staff have, which makes a really positive environment for staff, patients and their families.”

The QAAS inspection was carried out in November 2018 where the unit was awarded a third ‘Green’ level, which is the highest level of the accreditation scheme. To be put forward for an exemplar status the unit needed to receive three ‘Green’ level inspections – it received green levels in February 2017 and November 2017.

The unit had to submit a portfolio of evidence and carry out a presentation at a UHMBT board meeting in February before they were awarded the exemplar status.

The QAAS inspection highlighted the following:

·        Patients were happy with the care given and feedback was good from relatives and carers

·        The introduction of a falls bay has meant that it is 200+ days since there was a patient fall. The falls bay means that a member of staff is ever present in each of the unit’s five bays

·        Staff are 100% compliant in training for Acute Kidney Injury, sepsis, dementia and elderly learning and risk assessment

·        The unit has a dementia-friendly environment with specialist equipment, menus and support of John’s Campaign (which allows loved ones to be with a patient suffering from dementia more often, and for greater periods of time).

Angela added: “We were over-the-moon when we awarded the exemplar status. The acute frailty unit has its foundations in strong and effective management awareness of what is exactly required in a ward when treating and caring for our patient group. Working practices and ward culture are the basic cornerstones of caring, and enthusiastic staff.”

Staff on the unit also use music therapy with patients and regularly sing with them and patients are offered a ‘date night’ with loved ones when it’s their wedding, anniversary or birthday.

They are also trained in the Butterfly Scheme, which involves a discrete butterfly being displayed above the patients’ bed and on their records so that staff are made aware that the person may need extra care and attention and, above all, are always safe.

Patient and family feedback has included:

“The care, attentive support and understanding offered by the staff on the ward was second to none.”

“I was so impressed with the attention to detail and cleanliness, especially with having the passport of care and butterfly system in place.”

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