Hello fellow reader. Welcome to the February edition of the Lewisham Mental Health carers forum. Each of the 4 MH carer forums I run focus on mental health service engagement for MH carers. The forums also seek engagement, updates and involvement from other parties, but usually mental health services come first.
For the Lewisham forum with thanks to SLaM’s public and patient engagement lead for Lewisham & Croydon, we were delighted to have in attendance SLaM’s Lewisham Quality Improvement clinical Nurse.
I also presented the new Carers UK online application to the members and shared this on our Carers Whatsapp group. If you are a carer and are interested in boosting your skills. Please check out the following link.
I also shared the Carers UK State of Caring online Survey, which you can also fill out below
Going back to SLaM QI I can almost hear the following.
What is Quality Improvement I hear you ask?
There has been a drive at mental health trusts to strengthen services through quality engagement and indicators. The quality improvement drive has unfortunately come from reports due to serious incidents in the past, but it has led to action and families and carers need to know more about NHS Trusts QI.
Emma Jones who is the SLaM QI clinical Nurse spoke to us about the importance of QI. She spoke about the recent visit from NHS England querying the trust on involvement and co-production. From what I remember, SLaM were good in some areas, but struggled in others. Emma admitted there was still a long way to go.
We were shown a video which can be viewed below.
I felt the video was very good and certainly set the agenda for a good discussion.
The forum felt more carers need to be involved on SLaM’s carers register and more carers need to be involved on SLaM’s projects. The Lewisham MH forum await the focus groups QI are planning. There was a lot of discussion on SLAM’s changing lives strategy.
The core components of the Strategy are
- Quality – SLaM will get the basics right in every contact and keep improving what matters to services users.
- Partnership – SLaM will work together with service users, their support networks and whole populations to realise their potential.
- A great place to work – SLaM will value, support and develop our leaders, managers and staff.
- Innovation – SLaM will strive to be at the forefront of what is possible, exploiting our unique strengths in research and development, with everyone involved and learning.
- Value – SLaM will make the best use of our assets, resources, relationships and reputation to support best quality outcomes.
The forum fed back on if the changing lives strategy has a space for carers and was not keen on the word ‘support networks’, although they agreed the word could stay, but certainly wanted the word ‘family and carer’ to be added. The view is even carers are also users of services not as patients but what SLaM can provide.
There were also talk about other words as in the word ‘Huddle’, which is an american term for taking action and planning strategy instead of consulting.
There was more discussion on Carer & Service User Involvement in QI
Where the forum was presented on how SLaM QI in Lewisham or overall were engaging with those off the Involvement Register. The following was presented.
- How the Inpatient Care process Model works – A Lewisham Pilot.
- How each acute ward eventually had a 1 hour group every 2 weeks.
- How to get patient involvement/feedback.
- Positive & constructive Feedback from persons supporting group.
- Pointing out that patients change ideas do make a difference.
- How patients feel listened to, more informed of what to expect & given feedback from actions.
- Moving Forward: Each Ward to take ownership of group with IR.
Again the forum pressed QI for carer focus and involvement, however the good thing is that SLaM QI were there to listen. Near the end of the talk, the forum discussed SLaM’s patient discharge follow up regarding SLaM’s suicide policy and touched on the QI projects each ward was working on. A lot of projects were focused on patiet flow, but some looked at the patient and carer experience.
All in all, I was happy that Emma from Lewisham SLaM QI attended, even though she was pregnant I felt this showed dedication to her role and set an example to engaging with carers. I shared the forum notes with carer members to 2 other forums in the hope those members can query Quality Improvement in other SLaM boroughs.
Next up was Carers Lewisham new support worker who has a vast amount of Mental Health knowledge. He updated the forum on some new groups that Carers Lewisham is running and we look forward to working with him and Carers Lewisham.
This concludes the update for February Lewisham MH carers forum.