Staff at Newcastle Hospitals who cared for critically ill patients during the COVID-19 pandemic will to be supported with their well being and recovery as well as future proofing their resilience in a year-long project.
The project, which is being part funded by donations from patients who have received care on the critical care wards and their families, aims to support approximately 500 staff working in Adult Critical Care and the Emergency Dept at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) to recover well with a particular focus on their morale and well being.
It also aims to improve patient, carer and staff experience in the long term for those working within and being cared for by these teams.
Dr Sarah Platt, one of two clinical leads for adult critical care at the RVI, said: “Our project is focused on “psychological safety” – achieving optimum performance, engagement and well being by creating a working environment that allows people to thrive. It is very much looking at making patient care and outcomes better, with the added important factor of improved staff well being and satisfaction.”
She added: “Our Intensive Care and A&E teams work in a high pressured environment caring for very ill patients around the clock throughout the year. Whilst the impact of dealing with COVID-19 on staff well being is not yet fully known, and tackling issues around staff well being is imperative.
“Critical Care and the Emergency Department have been particularly affected in dealing with the current pandemic and this project will be important in recovery of the team.”
She added: “It is thanks to the generosity and altruism of our patients and families who have donated and made this possible.”
There is significant evidence and research that shows the essential relationship between patient well being and the well being of those who care from them.
The King’s Fund commissioned a study on engagement and well being (2012) which found that cultures of engagement, positivity, caring, compassion and respect for all – staff, patients and the public – provide the ideal environment within which to care for the health of the nation.
The project is expected to support additional benefits of reducing stress, and improved levels of concentration and focus in staff, which have a direct impact on patient care. Both patient outcomes and experience improve when staff have sufficient time, morale and empathy to deliver the care they would wish to themselves.
The project is due to start in October 2020 and run until September 2021 and is the result of a collaboration of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Hospitals Charity, and the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal.
The initiative is part of a range of projects which Newcastle Hospitals Charity has supported thanks to donations from patients and their families, along with funding from NHS Charities Together for staff health and well being, following public support for the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Teri Bayliss, Charity Director for Newcastle Hospitals Charity, said: “Our colleagues from across the Trust have gone above and beyond in caring for patients, as they always do, through the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleagues have looked at the best way to support their recovery and this project will benefit both our staff and patients with long lasting positive effects.
“I want to personally thank our donors and supporters. Our Charity aims to support staff well being and patient care. The two are shown to be interlinked and this pioneering work will impact on both of these important areas to improve our care for staff, patients and our communities.”