6th November 2019
left to right Ken Thorp, Laura Ahearn, Sue Boran and Jacqueline Coleman
A Stockport health partnership team providing improved care for patients with breathing problems got a visit from the head of a charity for community nurses who are helping to support the project.
Sue Boran, Director of Nursing Programmes for the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI), visited the SCARF project (Stockport COPD Advice on reviewing care in patients with Frailty), and saw how they are working with nursing homes and a local GP surgery to enhance care for patients with the condition.
SCARF is a joint project, and sees Laura Ahearn, a Specialist COPD Nurse from Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, work together with Jacqueline Coleman, a Specialist Interface Clinical Pharmacist from Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group.
They work within the COPD team, who provide support to the hundreds of patients in the Stockport area who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
SCARF involves nurse and pharmacist visits to people with COPD living in care homes, without them having to visit hospital or healthcare settings.
The team can then communicate their findings and suggestions to the patients’ GPs, promoting improved care for this group of patients. They keep track of patients’ progress and are on hand to offer advice and support on the best use of medicine, light exercise and the correct use of inhalers.
They also plan to offer training and education on COPD for care home staff as well.
Sue shadowed the team while out working and visiting care homes. One patient who’s benefitted from the project was 93 year old Ken Thorp who lives at the Cawood House Borough Care home in Brinnington.
Since Ken was seen by the team he has been able make better use of medication and improve his inhaler technique, and is managing his condition a lot better.
Sue also met staff at the Brinnington Health Centre GP surgery to see how they are working with their patients to help support the project.
Laura Ahearn said “The joint working approach of the team enables us to give patients like Ken the care and support they need in the comfort and support of their own home rather than having to attend appointments elsewhere.
“It’s helping us to provide a real lifeline to patients with these difficult and uncomfortable conditions, and a contact point for care home staff so they can have help and advice for supporting their residents with the conditions too.”
Jacqueline Coleman added “The project is a great example of a team from different clinical disciplines and organisations working closely and effectively together, helping patients to make the best use of their medication, enhancing their care and ultimately improving their health outcomes”.
The COPD team is supported by the QNI, which has a long history of supporting nurse-led innovation projects in community and primary care settings.
With a grant from the Burdett Trust for Nursing they are currently supporting the Stockport team and ten other nurse-led innovation projects across England, Wales and Northern Ireland for people living with frailty.
Project leaders have up to £5,000 to develop a year-long project to improve the health of people living with frailty; with advice and professional development support on hand from the QNI to help them confidently manage, deliver and sustain their project.
Sue Boran said “It was a real pleasure to meet up with the SCARF team, and talk to them, to local care home staff and the GP practice supporting this innovation project, and to the patients themselves, about how it is making a really positive impact on the care and treatment options for people with COPD.
“I am delighted the QNI is able to support this project and others supporting community patient care across the country.”