Dr Simon Lewis, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist gave an overview of Simmons House Adolescent Unit, Whittington Health’s inpatient psychiatric unit for young people. He introduced the mother of a 16-year-old patient called Peter (not his real name), who was unable to leave his mother’s side. She described how Peter’s problems were so severe his family was barely coping. Peter’s admission to Simmons House was critical to him remaining in their care. The unit gave his family much needed respite, support and a means of unravelling his issues. Peter’s mother described Simmons House as “a hugely valuable rare resource” and “a truly unique service” with dedicated staff with specialist skills. Peter has since returned to school and the family is very proud of what he has achieved.
Gwen Moulster from the Learning Disability Team showed us a film about a patient with complex health needs, including a learning disability. The patient’s mother explained that due to his disabilities her son cannot speak and therefore it is difficult for healthcare professionals to identify when he is in pain. Gwen's team had worked with the families of patients with learning disabilities to produce colour coded cards explaining how the patients look and behave when they are well, and when they are in pain. This can help doctors and nurses identify when a patient is in pain. The mother explained that the pain card had enabled medical staff to take early steps to help her son when he was in pain.
Mishael Akpan, manager of Whittington Health’s Mobility and Seating Solution Centre, introduced a patient with facioscapulohumeral (FSH) muscular dystrophy, a progressive musclewasting disease for which there is no cure. The patient had been referred to Whittington Health’s Mobility and Seating Solution Centre. This service provides assessment, advice, provision and maintenance of wheelchairs and associated seating for people with permanent or long-term mobility problems. Following a contribution from the patient, she was issued with a powered wheelchair and given support and information by the service. Explaining the extent to which this had improved her quality of life, she said that without it, she would have needed a carer. She went on to explain that four times a week she travels the six miles to her local swimming pool and can use buses to get into central London. The patient described the service as “fantastic”, saying that any requests or queries were responded to within a couple of days and the team had helped to give back her independence.
Ward sister, Siobhan Mellett, and physiotherapist, Zaynah Dinah explained our Enhanced Recovery Programme, which enables patients to return to as normal a life as possible after a surgical procedure. Zaynah explained that an important element of recovery is to ensure patients are in the best possible condition prior to their surgery. Before an operation patients attend ‘joint school’ to be educated about the process of their joint replacement and how they can be actively involved their own recovery. After the operation, patients are encouraged to get moving within two hours. Once discharged, the hospital’s medical team supports them by telephoning them, provides a phone number to call in case of problems and visits them in their homes. The programme has been very successful and has seen length of stay at the hospital reduce significantly. A patient, who had recently had a hip replacement, described his experience of the programme. He spent four days in hospital and demonstrated his new hip by walking around. He praised the Trust, stating that the results of his hip operation had been wonderful and he had received very good care. Pain relief had been given when needed, and the nursing and physiotherapy had been first-class.
Kalice is a 26-year-old patient with agoraphobia who receives dental care in her own home as she is unable to leave it. By video, she told her story of being housebound, suffering from panic attacks and depression, therefore being unable to attend dental appointments. A referral to community dentistry meant she was able to receive many treatments at home including X-rays, fillings, extractions and even surgical dentistry. Without the domiciliary dental service, she would have lost her teeth and been very sick from repeated abscesses. Her confidence was improved through contact with the community dentist, who then referred her on to a psychologist and she is now able to leave her home for short periods. This impressive service demonstrates flexible, patient-centred care adapted to the needs of the people it serves.
Matron Logan Van Lessen explained to the Trust Board that, following a successful pilot, fathers are now allowed to stay in hospital overnight following the birth of their child. In a survey, 94.7 per cent said they thought this was a good idea. This cost neutral initiative from the Whittington is the first of its kind in London. Due to its success, it is likely to be rolled out to other hospitals. It is also a great example of achievement in one of our core strategic goals - building a culture of innovation and improvement. Matron Van Lessen introduced Brian and Jennifer, who recently welcomed daughter Charlotte into the world. Brian stayed overnight at the Whittington after the birth and he explained that it gave him peace of mind. Jennifer added: “to have the continued emotional support of my partner at a time of vulnerability definitely helped to make the birth a very positive experience”.