Congratulations to our Speech and Language Team who have been shortlisted for the ‘Patient Safety Collaboration of the Year award’ at the Health Service Journal Partnership awards for their trailblazing work developing better training for staff who care for patients with dysphagia.
Dysphagia is when a person has difficulty in swallowing, which can be a serious risk to health if not properly managed. Patients who have dysphagia are at a higher risk of choking, aspiration pneumonia, malnutrition and similar issues and, while our Speech and Language team provide specialist input into caring for these patients, it is wider hospital, community and care home staff who care for these patients on a day-to-day basis.
“It’s a really fundamental patient safety issue” explains Laura Jones, head of the Speech and Language (SALT) service at the trust. “Eating and drinking are an important part of daily life for everyone, but without the knowledge of how to support people with dysphagia properly these routine tasks can be genuinely dangerous. We wanted to create an effective, accessible training programme for anyone who might care for a person with dysphagia, making sure that they are kept safe and healthy and are supported with dignity.”
The team worked with specialist training providers to develop a new programme of training for staff who care for people with dysphagia, using a blended model of in person and online training to make the training accessible and convenient. The training helps staff to meet regulatory guidance on dysphagia care, as well as adoption of best practice throughout the organisation. Since the training was put into practice, safety incidents relating to dysphagia at the trust have reduced by 85 per cent, with no instances reported at all for this year.