A team, including two members of staff from the University of Chester, has been nominated for a Nursing Times award for their innovative work in helping student nurses understand the caring needs of older people.
Valerie Ebrahimi and Liz Cooper, of the university’s faculty of health and social care, worked on a joint initiative with Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Home Instead Senior Care, based in Warrington.
The team is in the running for the HRH Prince of Wales Award for Integrated Approaches to Care – one of nine entries shortlisted in the category and the winners will be announced at a gala event in London in November.
The project – Student Nurses in Domiciliary Care – introduces student nurses to the concept of domiciliary social care, helping improve their understanding of care for elderly people at home and the need for support that will allow people to remain independent at home for as long as possible.
Director of care at Home Instead Senior Care Wirral Catharine Chalton, said: “Home Instead aims to change the face of ageing by delivering bespoke care to people at home, and the project involves students shadowing experienced, well-qualified care and junior care managers.
“They learn to consider the domiciliary setting as ‘the norm’ for most elderly people, and understand the importance of delivering supportive care and re-ablement services. They are encouraged to reflect on the ‘home from hospital’ journey some elderly people will make.”
Valerie said: “The university identified how a relatively new service across the UK has the potential to make a major contribution to the health and social care economy. This type of service not only addresses issues relevant to personalisation and our ageing society, but can also influence a cultural shift in how we view and deliver care in the community for the benefit of everyone.
“We have the potential to help alter the common perception that all social care is of poor quality. And from a health economics perspective, we hope it will pave the way for more cost effective care in the community, with more timely and effective discharge of elderly patients from hospital.”
She added: “This is a long-term project and the benefits are potentially huge. Students will gain lifelong knowledge and understanding of the social care sector. Qualified nurses will gain insight into the re-ablement of individuals, particularly the elderly. Social care organisations will communicate more effectively with the health sector – and all parties will learn to truly place the individual at the centre of decisions about future care needs.”
Executive dean of the faculty of health and social care at the university, Professor Annette McIntosh-Scott, paid tribute to the collaborative work of the three organisations.
She said: “This is a long-term project that has only been made possible by all three organisations embracing the opportunity to effect attitudinal change, seek realistic solutions to enhancing patient care and service user experiences by encouraging understanding and partnership working across all sectors of health and social care.
“The team has achieved a great deal, and the project will help us develop qualified nurses who understand the social care sector and naturally think about care at home and re-enablement rather than disablement and institutional care. We are extremely proud that their work has been recognised with this prestigious nomination.”