The dedication of care home staff across Sunderland was in the spotlight at a special celebration event at the city’s Stadium of Light. More than a hundred staff attended the event, hosted by NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Academic Health Sciences Network, which supports innovation in healthcare.
The event highlighted both the skill and commitment of staff, and the success of a series of local initiatives helping to improve health in the city’s care homes.
Sunderland was among the first in the country to introduce new tablet technology so that care home staff can monitor the health of vulnerable residents and work more effectively with ambulance crews, hospitals and GPs.
Using the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) system, care home staff can flag up and track potentially serious health problems using a table computer, and share the information in real time with the health professionals who care for them.
The new system helps to ensure that early warning signs are spotted quicker, and aims to prevent the patient’s condition from deteriorating.
Ann Fox, Director of Nursing, Quality and Safety at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We were delighted to recognise the dedication, skill and commitment of the hundreds of staff who care for many of Sunderland’s most vulnerable residents in the city’s care homes.
“Over the past two years, care home staff have embraced a series of new systems and learned the skills to use them effectively. That means patients now benefit from blood pressure tests which are transmitted to health professionals in real time using Bluetooth, so that signs of deterioration can be picked up and acted on more quickly.
“Sunderland has been a real trailblazer with this initiative and the result will be safer patients and better healthcare.”
The celebration event was opened by Professor Oliver James from the Academic Health Sciences Network and attended by representatives from Sunderland CCG, City Hospitals Sunderland, Sunderland City Council, Sunderland University, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and Solcom Ltd, which provides the technology for the early warning system.
More than 40 of the city’s care homes have now implemented the system, and their work was recognised with certificates presented at the event. Further awards were presented to Thorncliffe House and Farmborough Court for Sustaining Innovation, to The Croft Care Home and Washington Grange for Enhancing Innovation.
Also winning awards were Kathryn Dunnigham from the Croft Care Home, Damian Buglass from Marquis Court, Christine Scott from Belle Vue House, Four Seasons for delivering training and Ashley Burnett and Sheila Cunningham, specialist nurses from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, for Outstanding Contribution.