Care of older people is hot TOPIC as team in the running for national award

A project to raise the standards of care for older people in hospi- tal and secure the careers of those who look after them, is in line for an award.

Staff from across the Trust who have worked on the TOPIC project have been nominated for a Nursing Times award.

The Older People’s Improvement Collaborative (TOPIC) is run across South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s care of the older person’s wards and has been nominated for a Nursing Times award in the category of ‘Care of Older People’.

TOPIC aims to improve care and safety, boost the retention of staff, while offering educational opportunities, with the work backed thanks to the Trust’s charitable funds. While COVID-19 has proved a challenge, the staff worked hard to put in place 20 projects, focus- ing on 30 areas of improvement,

with one which reduces missed doses of medicine among those proving most beneficial.

The Older People’s Improvement Collaborative (TOPIC) is run across South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s care of the older person’s wards.

It has brought together staff nurses, nurse practitioners, health care assistants, allied health professionals, facilities staff, carers, inpatient and patient representatives, while it also involved Durham University and the University of Sunderland.

Among the projects were:- Work to improve teeth cleaning and mouth care

- The introduction of ‘easy eat’ spoons to help those with dementia to eat more- An afternoon tea session, encouraging patients to up their calorie intake to avoid malnutrition and pressure damage

- A ninety day #EndPJParalysis challenge to get more patients up and dressed before 11.30am

In the award submission, Lisa Pinkney, a Quality Improvement Facilitator with the Trust, said the team had worked with “determination and resilience” and added: “As one of our ward sisters said, ‘It might be a pandemic, but our patients still need the best care we can provide for them. I want to go home knowing I’ve done the best I can for my patients’.”