St Helens and Knowsley NHS Hospitals has identified an Older People's Champion from every ward and department within the Trust. We are a group of individuals who have a genuine desire to improve services for older people and who have committed to working together to use our influence to stand up for the interests of older people. A Champions Network supports and encourages these dedicated people in this role.
With our experience as Older People's Champions we play a key role in taking on this new challenge as dignity champions. All staff who works with older people should promote the interests of the older person but our champions; have a genuine desire to see the care and treatment of older people and carer's experiences in hospital improved. The people who are making a difference for older people are the many staff working on the "shop floor." The champions aim to work together to transform older people they are identified within the Trust by wearing a specially designed badge.
A number of initiatives have been introduced as part of a much wider Dignity Agenda.
- "Behind Closed Doors" is a partnership campaign between: Age Concern England, British Geriatrics Society, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Cardiff University, Carers UK, and Continence Foundation, Help the Aged, Incontact and the Royal College of Nursing. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness that people, whatever their age and physical ability, should be able to choose to use the toilet in private in all care settings. Giving people back control over their most private of functions will enhance their independence and rehabilitation, reduce lengths of stay and promote continence. The campaign emphasises the importance of the environment, as well as care practices and will help in the future commissioning of facilities.
- Secondment of 4 Healthcare Standards Facilitators: Facilitating a co-ordinated approach to action in relation to contemporary issues underpinning the care of the older person incorporating Dignity.
- Protected Mealtimes: Eating is an integral part of treatment, it is important for patients to have uninterrupted time to eat and enjoy meals. Making sure that our patients get the opportunity to eat and enjoy appetising and nutritious food is one of the most important aspects of nursing care. Red Trays a system which helps to identify those patients requiring assistance with eating and drinking is being monitored
- Audits - including patients being transferred or discharged home in nightwear.
- Education and Training: Education and training continues to have a high priority within the Trust. All students now have formal induction training during their care of the elderly placements which includes: age discrimination, the normal ageing process, safeguarding adults and caring for clients with sensory impairment training.
- "Care of the Older Person" - these modules continue to run for both unqualified and qualified staff with increasing numbers of staff nominations.