New Year’s honour for ‘inspiring’ former Solihull nurse

Published/updated: 31/12/15 08:36

Helen MeehanA former Solihull nurse has said she is ‘humbled’ after being awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for her work supporting patients and families at the end of their lives.

Helen Meehan was nominated for the honour by head nurse at Solihull Hospital and Community Services Vanessa Wort and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group in recognition of her ‘significant’ and ‘lasting’ impact on end of life care in the borough.

While at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Solihull Hospital and Community Services, as clinical lead for end of life care she led on a variety of projects, including the development of the ‘My Life’ initiative to support patients and their families with thinking about and sharing their wishes for future care.

The 50-year-old has been in nursing for 32 years and has worked in palliative care for over 20 years, first as a district nurse, then as Macmillan clinical nurse specialist for Solihull Community Services and as a lead nurse for palliative care in Solihull from 2004. She now works in a similar role at Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust.

Helen, formerly of Shirley, has been married to husband Kevin for 27 years and is mum to daughter Lucy, a doctor, and son Tom, a Royal Marine Commando. Helen was inspired to go into nursing by her mum who was also a nurse and said news of the award had taken her completely by surprise.

She said: “I feel so very honoured to be receiving this award. I really did not expect it so it was an amazing surprise. I recognise that I would not be able to do what I have done without the support of my colleagues and the trust they had in me to try and do things differently.

“I feel very privileged to have worked with so many amazing people and teams in my nursing career, many that have been willing to try new ways of working with me, to strive to be the best that they can be, to support some of our most vulnerable patients and families. I feel so very proud to be flying the flag for nursing.”

Helen qualified as a nurse in January 1987 and had her first staff nurse post on an oncology ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She then started her midwifery training in 1988 at Solihull Hospital School of Midwifery and qualified as a midwife in 1990 before moving into palliative care.

“I have always felt that supporting patients nearing the end of life and their families enables you to truly use your skills as a nurse,” Helen added. “To care for the dying person and their family is a privilege. As a lead nurse I feel passionately about enabling all staff to do the best that they can do, to care with compassion and to enable the patient and their family to be supported with dignity and respect.

“I feel so humbled that Vanessa and colleagues at Solihull CCG and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust put me forward for this award. Solihull and the Trust will always hold a special place in my heart as my colleagues there enabled me to grow and be the nurse I always wanted to be.”

Vanessa Wort, head nurse at Solihull Hospital and Community Services, said the award for Helen was thoroughly deserved.

She said: “I’m so delighted that Helen has been given this richly deserved honour. We were all sad to see Helen go last year but what she has left behind is a legacy that defines how we deliver end of life care for people in Solihull.

“I have had the opportunity to work with some truly inspiring individuals, yet none have had such a profound impact as Helen. The last seven years working with her have been an absolute privilege through which I, like so many others, have learnt so much.”

Dr Patrick Brooke, accountable officer of Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are so pleased that Helen has been given this honour, which she thoroughly deserves. Her work has given great comfort to many patients and their families and she is an inspiration to colleagues.”

Celebrating compassion at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

Published/updated: 29/12/15 16:00

Full verbal consent gained by allOver 40 members of staff and teams at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust have been recognised for their dedication to patients and families at the Compassion Awards.

The staff, including nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants, play specialists, therapy and support staff, received their awards for demonstrating exceptional work ethic and compassion towards those they care for.

Tracey Perkins, a senior nurse from the Neonatal Unit at Heartlands Hospital, was nominated by her colleague Hollie-Marie Daniel for her: “compassionate approach to looking after neonatal patients even going as far as to sing to them to help soothe them,” whilst staff in the Acute Medical Triage and Assessment Unit (AMU) team at Good Hope Hospital were nominated for their generosity when they raised money for a terminally ill colleague, and Shelley Mayberry, a nurse at Solihull Hospital, was praised for her care of breast cancer patients.

Julie Tunney, Deputy Chief Nurse, said: “Compassion is one of the hardest things to measure in health care but we all know when we have encountered it. So many of our staff go over and above their daily roles to provide compassionate care to patients that come into Heartlands Hospital and putting them at the heart of everything we do. At Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, we are very proud to be able to recognise and reward compassionate behaviours and celebrate this through our twice yearly Compassion Awards.”

The Compassion Awards were held across all three Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust hospital sites throughout December, and the video can be viewed here.

Picture caption: Tracey Perkins, a senior nurse from the Neonatal Unit at Heartlands Hospital, receiving her award.

 

12 Days of Christmas – twelfth day

Published/updated: 24/12/15 12:21

It’s nearly the end of 2015 and we thought we’d spend the next 12 days sharing some stories and successes from the last year from across the Trust, as well as some useful tips to stay healthy in 2016.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

On the twelfth day

marathon picTwelve runners from The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Charity took part in this year’s Great Birmingham Run to raise money to support local cancer patients in Birmingham and Solihull.

The majority of the runners who took part in the 13.1 mile half-marathon, did it for the 19for19 campaign, raising money for Ward 19 at Heartlands Hospital. This unit treats patients suffering from blood cancers. Another runner was raising money towards the respiratory unit which treats patients with breathing difficulties from across the region.

The 19for19 campaign has been organised by Solihull Barons Ice Hockey Captain, Rob Eley as part of his testimonial year before he retires at the end of the season. Rob has decided to raise money for Ward 19 as his wife Catherine recently finished treatment there.

12 Days of Christmas – eleventh day

Published/updated: 24/12/15 12:17

It’s nearly the end of 2015 and we thought we’d spend the next 12 days sharing some stories and successes from the last year from across the Trust, as well as some useful tips to stay healthy in 2016.

Wishing you all a very  Happy New Year.

On the eleventh day

We have approximately 11,000 employees at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and 64% of our staff said that they would recommend the service to their friends and family according to the latest Friends and Family Test (FFT) results.

The FFT is an important feedback tool that encourages patients who use NHS services and staff who work in them, to provide feedback on their experience, asking them if they would recommend the service and if they have any other comments to make. We’re happy to say that over 95% of patients at Heart of England Foundation Trust would recommend the Trust to their friends and family.

12 Days of Christmas – tenth day

Published/updated: 24/12/15 12:14

It’s nearly the end of 2015 and we thought we’d spend the next 12 days sharing some stories and successes from the last year from across the Trust, as well as some useful tips to stay healthy in 2016.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

On the tenth day

Ten is the number of live kidney transplants that Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust facilitated in 2015. Two of these included two members of staff who both donated kidneys to their loved ones (include story below).

Currently there are over 7,000 people on the UK national transplant waiting list and, during the last financial year, over 1,300 people either sadly died whilst on the waiting list or became too sick to receive a transplant. Patients can wait for years for a transplant but it only takes two minutes to sign up to the organ donor register. It is really important that your friends and family know you wish to donate your organs and/or tissue after death. Even though you have registered for donation, your next of kin will still be asked to support your decision. Letting them know what you’ve decided now makes it much easier for them.

One of these live kidney transplants was one of our staff – and you can read more about it here.

Mary and AnthonyThe alt text for this image is the same as the title. In most cases, that means that the alt attribute has been automatically provided from the image file name.

 

Selfless hospital staff give gift of life

Published/updated: 24/12/15 12:11

Two members of staff who work as porters at Heartlands Hospital are looking forward to celebrating Christmas with their families, after saving the lives of their loved ones by donating their kidneys.

Mary and AnthonyMary Worthington donated a kidney to her son-in-law Anthony Smith in March this year. Thirty-six-year-old Anthony had been receiving home dialysis for two years and had been on the transplant list for around nine months. Both Mary and her husband Kevin offered to donate, but Mary was a closer match. Mary and Anthony’s transplant was performed at University Hospitals Birmingham and process was co-ordinated by Karen Hodgson, a live donor transplant co-ordinator at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Twelve weeks after the transplant, Mary returned to work full-time.

Anthony and Shereen, Mary’s daughter, have four children and since his transplant, his quality of life has hugely improved. He no longer needs dialysis four times a day, isn’t tired all the time and can run around after his children.

Mary said: “When I found out about Anthony it was a shock and I made up my mind there and then to see if I was a match. I am glad for Shereen, Anthony and the kids as it means that they will be a family again and do all the things that they couldn’t do before. My granddaughter Libby used to get up and make Anthony a cup of tea before he started his dialysis treatment and now Anthony will be helping to make Christmas dinner!”

DSCN2653Fifty-two-year-old Richard Stanley and his 48-year-old wife Carole met while working at Heartlands Hospital and shortly after their wedding in July 2013, Carole, who is diabetic, became very poorly with renal failure. She was placed on the transplant waiting list and when her kidney function was at just 15% of a normal kidney her medical team discussed putting her on dialysis. Richard offered to be tested to see if he could be a suitable match.

Surprisingly, Richard was a close match, and the transplant operation went ahead in October 2013 at nearby University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, which was co-ordinated by Karen too.

The couple, from Solihull, spent just under a week in hospital recovering from their operations before returning home. Richard had six weeks off work and Carole returned to work 18 weeks after her transplant.

Carole now works as a waiting list co-ordinator at Heartlands Hospital and has a new lease of life since her transplant. She has more energy and can enjoy time with her family, including her son Daryl, from a previous relationship, and her eight-year-old granddaughter Faith.

Carole said: “I love having the energy to run around after Faith, especially at Christmas time. This transplant has changed my life and I will forever be grateful to Richard for giving me such a generous gift – one I wouldn’t be able to have a normal Christmas without. I am also very grateful to my renal team who are now like family too.”

Karen Hodgson, Live Donor Kidney Transplant Co-ordinator, said: “It’s becoming more common for couples to donate their kidneys, but more unusual for two members of the same team to donate them to their loved ones. About a third of kidney transplants carried out in the UK are from living donors. A healthy person can lead a normal life with one working kidney. Before you become a living donor you are assessed to make sure it is safe for you to donate and the organ is suitable for the person receiving it.”

12 Days of Christmas – ninth day

Published/updated: 24/12/15 12:08

It’s nearly the end of 2015 and we thought we’d spend the next 12 days sharing some stories and successes from the last year from across the Trust, as well as some useful tips to stay healthy in 2016.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

On the ninth day

More than nine million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limits and this can have an impact on your health. If you’re feeling the effect after the excesses of Christmas, Dry January is a great opportunity to cut down on drinking. Health benefits include weight loss, better sleep, more energy, clearer skin plus you can make huge money savings.

For more information and to sign up to Dry January, please visit their website.

12 Days of Christmas – eighth day

Published/updated: 24/12/15 11:58

It’s nearly the end of 2015 and we thought we’d spend the next 12 days sharing some stories and successes from the last year from across the Trust, as well as some useful tips to stay healthy in 2016.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

On the eighth day

Vanguard_HAN0940Eight areas were awarded Vanguard status by the Government earlier this year, including Solihull Hospital.

Solihull Hospital and its partners, including Solihull CCG and Solihull Borough Council, were given the status for their work to create an integrated system that combines preventative services with rapid access to primary, social and specialist care both in and out of hospital.

Achieving vanguard status means Solihull is receiving national attention as well as being able to access specialist support and evaluation to help the partners to achieve their vision of creating an integrated health and care system that extends people’s healthy, active lives for as long as possible.

 

12 Days of Christmas – seventh day

Published/updated: 24/12/15 11:56

It’s nearly the end of 2015 and we thought we’d spend the next 12 days sharing some stories and successes from the last year from across the Trust, as well as some useful tips to stay healthy in 2016.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

On the seventh day

martyn abbottsSeven challenging events were tackled this year by Martyn Abbotts for the Friends of Solihull Hospital (FOSH).

The 44-year-old from Solihull took on the gruelling Stratford Triathlon, London 10K, Birmingham Triathlon, Shropshire Triathlon, Blenheim Triathlon and for the first time ever, an Iron Man distance triathlon in Snowdonia.

Also raising money for Marie Curie in Solihull, Martyn said: “I chose these charities as sadly most people will pass through them in their lives and their work is often unseen but much felt. They are good people with good hearts and are the real heroes.”

If you would like to get involved with FOSH, please contact Bill Jones on 0791 4791414 or Liz Steventon on 0790 9912525.

 

12 Days of Christmas – sixth day

Published/updated: 24/12/15 11:52

It’s nearly the end of 2015 and we thought we’d spend the next 12 days sharing some stories and successes from the last year from across the Trust, as well as some useful tips to stay healthy in 2016.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

On the sixth day

red flag sepsisNational toolkits that changed the way treatment of blood poisoning is managed by health care professionals were developed by a consultant at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

The Sepsis Six toolkits, compiled by Good Hope Hospital critical care consultant, Dr Ron Daniels, provide guidance for professionals from a wide variety of healthcare roles including in GP surgeries, A&E departments, ambulances, and on acute and other hospital wards on how to recognise and treat blood poisoning, otherwise known as sepsis.

The Trust has recently built on the success of Sepsis Six with a new sepsis pathway (FABULOS), introducing sepsis red flags and leading to more effective treatment for sepsis patients.

Mark Sollis from Tamworth survived a severe case of sepsis, thanks to Sepsis Six.

 

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