12 December 2019
The Trust that runs Shropshire’s acute hospitals is exploring ways to improve the care of patients presenting with mental health conditions in its Emergency Departments (EDs).
Over the last week doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) have been using the Trust’s Transforming Care Production System – which is now fully embedded at SaTH following the five-year partnership with the USA’s Virginia Mason Institute – to improve the care and treatment for patients with mental health conditions.
These newly-designed processes are now being trialled to help:
- All staff in the Trust’s two EDs, as well as the on-call teams, know the correct process for the admission of 16 and 17-year-olds presenting in the EDs with a mental health condition
- All patients in the EDs are triaged using a much-improved Mental Health Triage Tool
- The number of patients triaged within 15 minutes of arrival in the EDs is increased
During the week the team were also joined by Lynda Jones, an independent mental health activist, who has been inputting and guiding the team from a patient perspective.
Adrian Vreede, Operations Manager at SaTH, said: “This has been an incredibly valuable week for everyone involved.
“We know we have to make improvements in this area and by coming together and taking a week away from the day-to-day business, we have been able to come up with a number of solutions that should improve outcomes for patients.
“We are not going to find a magic fix in a week, but through the introduction of a number of new tools, and then regularly testing and tweaking, I am confident we have taken the first steps towards positive change.”
Improvements made during the week include:
- The creation of a Mental Health Triage Tool – all patients presenting in ED are currently assessed using a Physical Health Tool. A much-improved Mental Health Triage Tool is to be introduced alongside this which will help decide the next course of action for the patient
- The creation of a flowchart for all staff in the Emergency Departments – a step-by-step guide has been created to ensure all staff are fully aware of the correct pathway for 16 to17-year-olds presenting in ED with a mental health condition
- Improved education and awareness – information folders are to be created containing important information, including the flowchart and the Mental Health Triage Tool, and contact details of external organisations that may be able to assist in the delivery of great patient care of those presenting with a mental health condition
Lynda Jones said: “The Trust is most definitely heading in the right direction. Over the past few months there has been a much greater focus on mental health and the way patients, and staff, are cared for.
“My job is to challenge the staff and always provide the patient voice. It is the best way of working and I am really pleased to be asked to work with the team this week and going forwards.
“The Trust has lot more planned for 2020 – which is really exciting – building on the good work that has already been done, including the creation of Mental Health First Aiders and Peer to Peer Listeners, and the introduction of suicide prevention training.
“We still have work to do but I am confident that mental health is now a key priority for SaTH. In the meantime I will keep delivering the patient voice.”
The results of this week’s work will be presented to all staff tomorrow (Friday 13 December) and then trialled within the EDs with a view to it being rolled out permanently.