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‘Look after your elf’ with Solihull Stop Smoking Service

Look after your elfShoppers at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre were treated to advice and support from Santa’s little helpers today (Wednesday 18 December), courtesy of Solihull Stop Smoking Service. The campaign, ‘Look after your elf’, is aimed at supporting those that want to quit smoking as part of their New Year’s resolutions and beyond.

Many smokers looking to stop visited the stand at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre, where specialist advisors from Solihull Stop Smoking Service were able to offer free advice and support to help local residents quit smoking in the New Year.

Visitors to the stand were able to discuss nicotine replacement therapies, other medications and general health tips to ensure they quit smoking for good. Sarah Stables, Solihull Stop Smoking Service Manager, said:

“The beginning of a new year brings a fresh start and a desire to break old habits. The urge to quit smoking is top of many people’s list when it comes to New Year’s resolutions and we want the local community to know support is available. We’re here to tell people, ‘Don’t give up giving up!’ Smokers are four times more likely to give up smoking with the help of the NHS than on their own.”

“We had great fun dressing up as elves to grab the attention of shoppers at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre in the run up to Christmas, and we believe it was the perfect message to help people remember to ‘look after your elf’ in 2014.”

The Stop Smoking Service offers one-to-one support for smokers to quit smoking at a range of venues across the borough, including drop-in sessions, most GP surgeries, pharmacies and a dental surgery.
For more information, call the Solihull Stop Smoking Service on 0800 015 8512 or visit www.solihullstopsmoking.co.uk

pet therapy dogGolden Retriever, Ruby, has been bringing her own special dose of therapy to cheer Solihull Hospital patients during the festive season.

The two year old, Pets As Therapy (P.A.T) dog is brought onto the elderly care ward once a week by her owner, Marilyn Pringle, and whenever specially requested by patients to offer comfort and companionship during their hospital stay.

Marilyn explains: “Ruby’s Christmas outfit has put smiles on faces all around the Hospital, but when she has her yellow Pets As Therapy jacket on, knows she has a job to do. She has a very calming way about her and loves to be petted and the elderly patients respond well to that.  Christmas can be a difficult and sometimes lonely time to be in Hospital, so Ruby truly is Santa’s extra special helper.”

Phil Hall, senior dementia nurse at Solihull Hospital, said: “When Ruby arrived wearing reindeer antlers, she brought a smile to everyone on the ward.”

emergency department

Hospital staff are taking a new approach to tackling delays in the emergency department this week by launching a new ‘breaking the cycle’ initiative.

Bosses at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust said flooding the wards with additional clinicians over a five day period should ensure all patients are admitted, treated and discharged to the right place, at the right time. Every ward will have a named doctor, nurse and manager to support driving flow and safety; and managers and clinicians during the week will be diverted from all other activities to focus on improvements at a departmental and ward level.

The ambitious plan, which has been borrowed from a hospital in Bath, will aim to ‘break the cycle’ of delays and missed A&E targets at the Trust which runs Birmingham Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital and Community Services.

Additional winter pressures in the Trust’s emergency departments, caused by issues such as unexpected peaks in activity and a lack of hospital beds, has meant performance on the four-hour target, which should be met for 95 per cent of patients, dropped to 90 per cent in recent months. But Adrian Stokes, the new Director of Emergency Pathway transformation, said the ‘breaking the cycle’ scheme would help nurses and junior doctors make correct decisions about the pathways patients follow, freeing up staff and beds across the hospitals and improving the flow through the emergency departments.

Adrian said: “The aim of the initiative is to focus intensely on improving patient flow and patient safety. It will also help staff see how, in some cases, patients could be better cared for at home or in the community, and to identify and fast-track those cases. This will happen right across the wards and will provide us with additional learning so we can improve things on a permanent basis.”

During the week, each ward will have twice daily consultant-led ward rounds and every patient in every bed will be reviewed to see if they are fit for discharge from hospital. Support services will also be key to the week with timely response to requests and the Trust will also be launching its new Patient Flow Bundle, a set of evidenced-based actions that, if implemented routinely across the hospitals, will lead to improved patient flow, patient safety and experience. The adoption of best practice, inpatient flow and discharge processes will also be accelerated during the week.

didyougetiton-poster-wwwJust4You, the Solihull sexual health service for young people under the age of 25, has launched its Christmas campaign, ‘Did you get it on?’ The initiative warns of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption over the festive period, which can lead to unprotected sex and increase the risk of unplanned pregnancies and STIs.

The campaign includes bus advertising and posters that will be displayed in the local community, which feature a QR code that smartphone users can scan. This takes users to the Just4U’s ‘Get Connected’ website, which includes information on local sexual health clinic locations and opening times over the Christmas period, as well as local pharmacies and Just4You scheme sites where young people can access free condoms and emergency contraception. Jodie Smith, health promotion specialist – teenage pregnancy and sexual health at Just4You, said:

“We understand people enjoy a drink, but it can also lead to people behaving in ways they might not normally and they may do something they regret later regret. With the Christmas party season approaching, it’s important to encourage young people to be responsible with alcohol and ensure they can easily access confidential contraception and sexual health services if necessary.”

“Young people are increasingly using smartphone technology as part of their day-to-day life and QR codes offer a convenient way to enable young people to access essential information about local sexual health services.”

Just4You is a free and confidential service in Solihull for young men and women under the age of 25. It provides advice and guidance on relationships, sexual health issues, STIs and contraception.

For more information on services offered and clinic opening times, visit www.j4usolihull.co.uk/getconnected

birmingham-town-hall-gospel-choir-optimizedHeart of England NHS Foundation Trust and Solihull Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity) will be holding a special ‘Snowdrop Service’ this Christmas, for parents and families to remember babies that have been lost during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

The event will take place on Saturday 14 December at St Paul’s Church on Belchers Lane, Bordesley Green. Beginning at 4pm, it will include a special performance from Birmingham’s Town Hall Gospel Choir, winners of the first ever Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year competition.

Clare Beesley, bereavement support midwife at Heartlands Hospital, said: “Christmas can be a particularly difficult time of year for those that have lost a child, and we hope our special ‘Snowdrop Service’ with Solihull Sands will provide a comforting and peaceful setting for families to remember their loved ones. We are delighted to welcome the Town Hall Gospel Choir to the service too, who will help pay tribute to those gone too soon.”

The service will include carol singing, the lighting of remembrance candles and a number of special readings and poems.

To reserve a place or find out more information, please contact the bereavement services team on 0121 424 2088.

anne-marie-riley-landscape-2Ann Marie Riley, head nurse at Good Hope Hospital, which is part of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT), is calling all staff at the Trust to pledge to tell patients their names in support of a new national campaign to remind staff how the smallest actions can make a significant difference to patients.

The “Hello my name is” campaign has been launched by Dr Kate Granger, an elderly medicine registrar from Yorkshire , who became frustrated with the number of staff who failed to introduce themselves to her when she was an inpatient with post-operative sepsis earlier on this year.

Dr Granger, 31, has terminal cancer but has made it her mission to get as many members of NHS staff pledging to introduce themselves in future to their patients. The campaign has already been endorsed by several senior nurses at NHS England, including chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and Head of Commissioning (nursing) Michelle Mello, as well as Department of Health Director of Nursing, Viv Bennett.

This campaign is simple – reminding staff to introduce themselves to patients properly; because a confident introduction is the first step to providing compassionate care and is often all it takes to put patients at ease and make them feel relaxed whilst using our services.

Ann Marie said: “As part of this campaign, staff are asked to make a conscious effort to introduce themselves to all patients the first time they meet them by saying “hello my name is….and I will be looking after you today.

“We are not only concentrating on individual introductions, but also introductions to other members of staff who may be taking over on shifts, or also assisting the patient that day so they know who they are dealing with throughout the care process.

“We are also reminding staff to ask the patient how they wish to be addressed and ensure their name badges are visible at all times whilst on hospital premises.”

To find about more about the #hellomynameis campaign please visit Dr Granger’s blog at: http://drkategranger.wordpress.com/

It is estimated that there are around 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK, a fifth of which are unaware that they even have the virus – a statistic that calls for imminent action.

Birmingham Heartlands HIV Service is one of the largest HIV centres in the UK and, in a bid to help raise awareness of the condition, we have launched a new website. Available at www.hivbirmingham.nhs.uk, it includes information about HIV, HIV testing and living with the condition.

HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and attacks the body’s immune system, making those infected far more susceptible to disease and illness and many other secondary conditions. It also has no vaccination and no cure, though treatments are available to help keep the virus under control if diagnosed early enough.

There is a significant amount of stigma associated with HIV that causes many people to misunderstand it, or worse still, be too embarrassed to get tested or even treated. The consequence is that it continues to spread, affecting more and more people each year. Much of this is down to a lack of education on what exactly HIV is and how it is contracted – another reason for the launch of our new website.

The Heartlands HIV Service is a specialist unit located in the heart of the city, dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of patients with HIV. With each step, we aim to educate people to prevent further transmission, minimising the risk of it continuing to spread.

Getting as many people tested as possible is one of our main objectives and only requires taking a small blood sample. We also aim to let people know their results within 48 hours. It is important that people are diagnosed as early as possible so they can receive the best treatment.

As with any long-term disease or illness, living with HIV can be incredibly difficult for sufferers, their friends and families. We therefore provide comprehensive care from a holistic perspective – combining clinical treatment with psychological support and advice on general health and wellbeing.

Read through our website – www.hivbirmingham.nhs.uk – to find out more about what we offer, as well as information on HIV itself. You can book a test online, or by calling 0121 424 8984. The service is fully confidential and delivered by our specially trained medical staff.

heft-take-care-600x350

With patient falls costing the NHS £2.3billion a year, this remains one of the most important areas of focus for the health service and the safety team at Heart of England.

If a patient falls, their recovery time will be delayed and therefore their time spent in hospital may increase which is bad news for the patient and their health and the Hospital who may then experience increased pressures on the available bed space.

At HEFT all patients considered to be at risk of falling will have an individually tailored falls care plan which details interventions clinical teams can consider to reduce risk. There are also specialised falls clinics and a falls specialist nurse dedicated to supporting patients and clinical teams in this area.

If and when a fall does occur, the patient will have a medical review to assess for any injury and the next of kin will be immediately notified. A report of the fall is also made so that the number of falls can be recorded and monitored each month by the Hospital.

On admission to hospital, one of the first things teams do is identify which patients are most likely to fall so that they can target risk reduction measures appropriately. The risk reduction measures can be something as simple as ensuring patients are reminded to call or buzz if they require assistance.

All ‘at risk’ patients are given a special falls and fractures leaflet to read. Patients who are unable to use their call bell, if they are confused for example, may be nursed in a busier area of the ward where staff are more visible to them and the patient is more visible to staff.

Very occasionally clinical teams may consider having a member of staff with the patient throughout the day and night. This is not necessarily something a patient would wish to occur and this option will only be considered after all other methods of risk reduction have been ruled out.

Patients must be allowed their freedom and a certain level of mobility during their stay in hospital, so we are committed to working on reducing risk and minimising harm to patients whilst in our care.

Community-Physio-002-optimizedPatients in Birmingham are set to benefit from the introduction of a new self-referral scheme for physiotherapy, meaning patients can make an appointment with a physiotherapist without having to see a GP first.

The scheme will help deliver a more efficient and streamlined service for patients, reducing waiting times and ensuring patients receive access to the treatment they require as soon as possible. Physiotherapy can help with a range of aches and pains, including arthritis, sports injuries, ligament sprains, muscle strains and post-surgical rehabilitation.

Julie Hunter, therapy lead for planned care at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Patients can either arrange an appointment via phone or by completing one of our physiotherapy self-referral forms, which can be obtained from any of our physiotherapy departments or from most local GP practices. Once the form has been received, we will decide the best course of treatment and an appointment will be confirmed.

“Following the first appointment, we will help you understand your condition and work in partnership with you to develop a treatment plan that considers general health and fitness levels and your lifestyle.

“We would ask that while patients are free to make the most of our new scheme, a GP referral is still required for neurological, paediatric, respiratory and women’s health conditions, plus any patients requiring a home visit.”

To book an appointment at Heartlands Hospital call 0121 424 0493, for Solihull Hospital call 0121 424 5446, for Solihull Community Musculoskeletal Service call 0121 329 0107 and for Good Hope Hospital call 0121 424 9053.

Dr-David-Sandler-3Locals will have the opportunity to learn about strokes in a talk at Heartlands Hospital, taking place on Tuesday 26 November.

A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. More than 150,000 people suffer from a stroke each year in England and it is the third biggest cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.

Dr. David Sandler, consultant for elderly medicine at Heartlands Hospital, will discuss how a stroke happens, the different types of stroke and how simple lifestyle changes may help to reduce the risks of stroke. The talk will include a presentation and a Q&A session.

Dr. Sandler said: “Prompt treatment is absolutely essential for anyone that has a stroke, to minimise any long-term damage. A key acronym to remember to recognise the symptoms of stoke is FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time. Symptoms may include the face dropping to one side, an inability to raise the arms and slurred speech. If you notice any of these signs, then it’s time to call 999.”

Sandra White, seminar organiser, membership and community engagement manager, added: “We are committed to delivering an informative and helpful educational programme to locals in Birmingham. Dr. Sandler’s presentation will provide a valuable understanding of stroke as a condition and what can be done to help those whose lives have been affected by it.”

The seminar begins at 5pm in the Education Centre at Heartlands Hospital. To book your place or find out details of the Hospital’s future health seminars, contact Sandra White on 0121 424 1218 or email sandra.white@heartofengland.nhs.uk.

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