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North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), in conjunction with UCLPartners, Care City and NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has launched Significant Care, a free tool designed to help carers spot the early signs of deterioration in patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

A paper-based tool, Significant Care helps carers both at home and in a care home setting to identify the signs of deterioration in the person, specifically related to their skin, toilet habits, mobility, hydration levels and levels of confusion, and take prompt action.

The helpful tool was launched during the time of self-isolation due to COVID-19, with a goal of helping carers to support people in their own homes or in residential care settings throughout the period of uncertainty and anxiety.

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Significant Care was developed in partnership with carers’ groups across NELFT, North East London, Care City, and NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG, which identified a need for basic health and care skills guidance, particularly focused on recognising signs of deterioration.

Stephanie Dawe, NELFT Chief Nurse and Executive Director for Integrated Care Essex and Kent, said: “Patient safety is always at the heart of everything we do as health and care professionals, never more so than at this challenging time.

“The pandemic means there will be added anxieties for those who are caring for their loved ones at home and we hope the launch of the Significant Care tool will go some way to helping carers to support people in their own homes, as well as supporting those in care home settings.”

The free healthcare tool is an adaptation of Significant 7+, an initiative developed by NELFT for care home staff to identify and proactively manage health deterioration in residents.

According to NELFT, the launch of Significant 7+ led to a reduction in hospital admissions and an increase in the confidence of care home staff in their role.

Geraldine Rodgers, NELFT’s Significant 7 Clinical Lead and Deputy Chief Nurse and Nurse Fellow for Older People, NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG, commented: “A reoccurring theme through our conversations with carers has been the importance of accessibility of learning, based on the feedback, “If only we knew that”.

“We are therefore delighted to launch this tool to support carers at home and in the care home setting to spot the early signs of deterioration and to act quickly.”

Over the past year, UCLPartners has been supporting a number of teams across Barking, Havering and Redbridge to adopt Significant 7+.

You can see the Significant Care tool online here: https://s31836.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/Significant-Care-Tool-landscape-print-version-21.04.20-with-all-links-1.pdf

UCLPartners is a London-based academic health science centre. It is the largest academic health science centre in the world, which treats more than 1.5 million patients each year.

Care City is an innovation centre for healthy ageing and regeneration. It works as an innovation partner to East London’s health and care system whose work involves carrying out research of local and national significance; stimulating innovation across the local health and social care system; and inspiring new entrants into the local system’s workforce.

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