The first ever Kate Granger Awards for Compassionate Care have demonstrated that compassion makes a massive difference to patients across the age spectrum, with the two winners coming from services as diverse as teenage cancer care to care for older people.
Dr Sophie Edwards, who has been named as the winner of the individual category, works as a consultant geriatrician at North Middlesex University Hospitals NHS Trust, and was nominated for her work to improve the experience of patients with dementia.
Dr Edwards developed ‘10 things about me’, an initiative which sees each inpatient with dementia at her Trust having a card at the end of their bed listing 10 things about them and their background. The information enables ward staff, and other staff the patients come into contact with, to build and maintain engaging and meaningful relationships with patients who have dementia. Dr Edwards also introduced a “carers’ passport” to encourage carers to come into the acute setting to provide help and support for the person with dementia, and facilitate the process with free parking and open access to the ward. She has also increased dementia screening on admission, and introduced massage therapy for dementia patients.
The winner of the Kate Granger Award for Compassionate Care in the organisational or team category is the Teenage and Young Adult Service at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, for its work with young people diagnosed with cancer.
The Teenage and Young Adult Service (TYA) provides care for 16 – 24 year-olds from across the West Midlands who have been diagnosed with cancer. Following a principle of “Young Person first, Cancer Diagnosis second”, the TYA cares for oncology and haematology patients going through a range of cancer treatments, and makes a point of keeping services as flexible as possible to maintain ‘normality’ for the young people it supports. Its Young Persons Unit has an 11-bedded ward and 2-chair day unit, offering a ‘home from home’ environment, with open visiting, free wifi, a ‘mobiles on’ policy and extensive IT facilities. The Service flexes patient care, including admissions and treatments, around 21st birthday parties, school proms and other major milestones in young people’s lives, and keeps things as normal as possible for young adults by holding back on ‘lights on’ until 10am, as well as taking its services out of the unit for young people undergoing treatment elsewhere in the hospital or community.
Named after NHS doctor and award-winning blogger
Dr Kate Granger, the Awards were established by the NHS Employers organisation and NHS England. Dr Granger and her husband Chris Pointon chose the two winners from 13 finalists, who had been shortlisted from 80 nominations across the health and care service.
Director of Employment Services at NHS Employers, Sue Covill, who was part of the shortlisting panel, said:
“The two winners should be very proud, because the standard of entries was incredibly high. It is testament to the priority which health and social care staff give to compassion – it is something that guides them every minute of every day of their work.
“These Awards are a clear demonstration of how much impact one individual can have – not only because Kate herself has inspired so many people, including so many of those nominated by colleagues or patients for these Awards, but because so many of the entries are based around an idea or commitment which one or two people have taken forward to improve care and the experience of their patients.”
Representatives of the two winners were presented with engraved glassware at a prize giving ceremony at NHS Expo 2014, where Dr Granger was also presented with a surprise award for her campaign #hellomynameis
. Dr Granger’s campaign, which has spread throughout the NHS since she launched it via her popular blog and through Twitter in September 2013, promotes the importance of clinical staff ensuring they introduce themselves to patients at each contact.