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EveryExpert: An expert for every step of the care pathway

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The best neuro care and rehabilitation depends upon expert clinicians working together as one team, with one common goal to improve people’s care and quality of life. Here, we learn how Elysium Neurological’s EveryExpert approach to neuro care and rehabilitation is helping to achieve positive outcomes for the individuals they support.

Elysium Neurological operate six neuro care and rehabilitation services across the UK and provide complex care for a variety of conditions, including ABI and spinal cord injuries, Huntington’s, PDOC, spasticity and complex dementias. 

Front and centre to Elysium’s approach to complex care is the firm belief that when clinical experts collaborate and share best practice and knowledge, individual outcomes for patients are improved and quality of life of each person is optimised. Whatever care pathway is most suitable for an individual’s needs, Elysium’s promise is to always have the best clinician, with the most relevant and effective knowledge of their condition and treatment, supervising their care.

This EveryExpert approach to care is based on three key principles:

  1. Expert clinicians working together as one team
  2. Combining expert knowledge with expert clinical care
  3. Achieving positive outcomes personalised for each individual

We spoke with some of Elysium’s senior team to find out more about what these key principles entail.

Expert Clinicians Working Together As One Team

“Collaborative working is the most effective way to achieve positive outcomes for the people we support,” says Joy Chamberlain, CEO of Elysium Healthcare. 

“We can see first-hand how individual outcomes are improved when all clinicians and therapists involved in a person’s care work together, drawing upon each other’s specialist knowledge and experience. 

“Across our Neurological division, this approach is vital so that we ensure that the many complex and diverse needs of individuals in our care are met. That means whether they have an acquired brain injury or are living with a neuro-progressive condition, our team of experts are there to provide the most effective care and treatment at the most appropriate point of their care pathway.”

Collaborative working also plays a significant role in maintaining quality of life for individuals. Professor Quazi Haque, Executive Medical Director of Elysium Healthcare, explains the impact of the EveryExpert approach and the provision of holistic care on wellbeing.

Quazi says: “We’re always mindful that quality of life and wellbeing should be prioritised no matter what condition someone is living with, or what injury they have sustained. And this is where real team work comes into play – be they an OT, psychologist, psychiatrist, physiotherapist or a member of our care team, everyone at Elysium works together to ensure a joined-up approach to complex care, that focuses on the individual needs of each person.

“In this way we can respond to changing care or rehab needs, the team will be in agreement on the goals and outcomes they are working towards, and wellbeing is a central focus of all collective decisions. We see huge benefits to the individual receiving care and we know that this can then help aid recovery or maintain quality of life.”

Combining Expert Knowledge With Expert Clinical Care

Ensuring that expert knowledge and best practice is embedded across the provision of care helps team members make informed decisions about how to best to provide complex care.

Professor Nick Alderman, Clinical Director, Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation Services & Head of Psychology, has recently led a project to ensure that all six Elysium Neurological services have reviewed and agreed a set of outcome measures for each care pathway that is being implemented across the division. 

As Nick explains, this is a significant development in measuring the standard of care Elysium delivers and an important step forward in combining clinical knowledge and continually improving the services. 

Nick says: “Our agreed outcome measures were decided through consultation with experts both within and outside Elysium Healthcare, drawing upon a wide range of knowledge and experience to ensure we have the most comprehensive system possible to improve the patient pathway.

“When outcome measurement is embedded within a model of working, it benefits an organisation in many different ways. There is a culture of reflection and ongoing objective measurement, where all staff teams reflect upon what we are achieving and its purpose. In this way, health benefits and positive outcomes become an integral part of practice.

“We can now combine expert knowledge with the actual care that is being provided in our services. It helps us monitor the efficacy of the treatments and therapies that are being delivered and the impact on the person and their experience of care.”

Achieving Positive Outcomes Personalised For Each Individual

Listening and responding to the needs and wishes of individuals and their families is a central concern within the provision of complex care at Elysium Neurological. Often individuals have been admitted unexpectedly to primary care, perhaps by sustaining a traumatic injury. This may then have led to an extended period in hospital whilst receiving care from multiple care teams, before they arrive at an Elysium service. It can be a particularly difficult experience for individuals and families to navigate and so Elysium endeavour to make their provision of complex care as personalised as possible.

“Involving the individuals we support and incorporating their wishes in care is fundamental to our approach,” says Sheila Manisier, Business Development Director for Elysium Neurological.

“Patient inclusion and empowerment to influence and shape the experience and delivery of complex care is crucial. Without taking on board what individuals need and want, there is a big gap in service provision. Engaging with people and their families means that positive outcomes are truly reflective of personalised needs and not just those of a healthcare system. 

“We also actively pursue partnerships with specialist organisations and associations across the different care pathways we work in. We’ll do whatever we can do to ensure we have the latest knowledge, treatments and support available within our services so that each person receives the best care and support to fulfil their individual needs.”

Get the latest insights, blogs and news from Elysium Neurological over on their EveryExpert thought leadership hub:

https://www.elysiumhealthcare.co.uk/neurological/every-expert/

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Flu vaccinations to become compulsory for care staff?

Plans to introduce mandatory flu jabs could be “one step too far” for an already under-pressure sector, leaders warn

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The introduction of compulsory flu vaccinations for care home staff could be “one step too far” for a sector already battling a recruitment crisis amidst the ongoing impact of COVID-19, leading professionals in the industry have told NR Times. 

The Government is currently consulting with key bodies in health and social care over whether to introduce a statutory requirement for vaccination against flu as a condition of employment for frontline workers. 

This follows the move to make COVID-19 double vaccination compulsory, which some forecasters predict could see up to 30 per cent of social care workers leave their roles in a sector already struggling to meet the soaring demand for its services, with an existing and growing shortfall of at least 80,000 staff nationally.

The consultation, which concludes next week, is likely to be met with “fury and outrage” by care operators, many of whom have battled to stay afloat over the past 18 months with mounting staffing and financial challenges. 

SAGE has advised that the combination of flu and COVID-19 could make this winter more of a threat than ever before to the most vulnerable people, particularly those in specialist care environments, and that vaccination is a tool in preventing the transmission of both.

In its consultation paper, titled ‘Making vaccination a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector’, the Department of Health and Social care says that flu vaccine uptake among social care workers in care homes was around 33 per cent last year – including 48 per cent for those directly employed and 36 per cent for those employed through an agency – which is significantly lower than uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine.

But for operators already under pressure to meet the needs of their residents while losing staff over the COVID-19 vaccination issue, the worry is that more leaving the profession over the compulsory flu jab may tip the balance. 

One senior figure in a care operator, who wished to remain anonymous, told NR Times: “This is one step too far, particularly so soon after we’ve been forced to lose good people because of the COVID vaccination. 

“Smaller operators are struggling to stay afloat. We’re doing all we can but these are very difficult times. People say we’re through the worst, and in some ways that is true, but the staffing situation is getting worse. By forcing more people out of the sector, the future is very worrying.” 

Paul TM Smith – consultant to Renal Health Ltd and a leading name in specialist care, who is also part of the Royal College of Nursing’s older people’s forum – confirmed to NR Times that the RCN was invited to be part of the consultation. 

“The recent report from MPs (Coronavirus: lessons learned to date) highlighted many failures in the Government’s handling of COVID, but also showed the success of the vaccination programme. There is absolute terror at the prospect of a fourth or fifth wave of COVID, particularly as we come into flu season,” he says. 

“So, given that, I can understand where this approach by the Government comes from – but the situation with the COVID vaccinations has been rushed through and care homes now risk being hit again. And I can’t see it being a one-off for this year, as COVID isn’t going away. 

“I think there will be fury when this becomes known, there will be outrage from many. I worry this could be one vaccination too far and I’d be hesitant to say I’m 100 per cent convinced a policy around compulsory flu vaccinations for staff would be a good thing.

“We’ve seen that clinical advice and political action can be poles apart, and the Government aren’t bound to take that advice. The implications for the sector need to be fully considered.”

While many social care workers will qualify for free flu jabs, not all will, and a lack of clarity also exists over who would have to fund compulsory vaccinations. 

“If it starts costing people to be vaccinated, people who are on low pay working in very challenging conditions, then it becomes a levy. And if this falls to operators, up to 85 per cent of whom are very small operations, this will be a very significant expense for them at a time when they can’t afford any more financial pressures,” says Paul. 

The care home operator adds: “For any care staff in our homes who didn’t qualify for a free flu vaccination, I couldn’t possibly allow them to pay; but then that’s yet another outlay for us. I would hope there may be some Government support there, and that they appreciate how under pressure we really are.”

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Long COVID symptoms ‘typically last up to six months’

Research shows more than half of people with COVID-19 will go on to experience long-term Long COVID symptoms

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More than half of the 236million people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide since December 2019 will experience Long COVID symptoms up to six months after the initial virus, new research has revealed. 

During their illnesses, many patients with COVID-19 experience symptoms such as tiredness, difficulty breathing, chest pain, sore joints and loss of taste or smell.

But its impacts, both mentally and physically, can extend into a range of further debilitating issues which can last for months – which the research team at Penn State College of Medicine saying their study findings should leave governments, healthcare organisations and public health professionals in no doubt over the scale of COVID-19 survivors who will need care for a variety of psychological and physical symptoms.

Until recently, few studies have evaluated patients’ health after recovering from the Coronavirus. To better understand the short- and long-term health effects of the virus, the researchers examined worldwide studies involving unvaccinated patients who recovered from COVID-19.

According to the findings, adults, as well as children, can experience several adverse health issues for six months or longer after recovering from COVID-19.

The researchers conducted a systematic review of 57 reports that included data from 250,351 unvaccinated adults and children who were diagnosed with COVID-19 from December 2019 through to March 2021. 

The researchers analyzed patients’ health post-COVID during three intervals at one month (short-term), two to five months (intermediate-term) and six or more months (long-term).

According to the findings, survivors experienced an array of residual health issues associated with COVID-19. Generally, these complications affected a patient’s general wellbeing, mobility or organ systems. 

Overall, one in two survivors experienced long-term COVID manifestations and the rates remained largely constant from one month through to six or more months after their initial illness.

Issues with general wellbeing, mobility, neurological impacts and mental health disorders all featured heavily in the long-term symptoms. 

“These findings confirm what many health care workers and COVID-19 survivors have been claiming, namely, that adverse health effects from COVID-19 can linger,” said co-lead investigator Vernon Chinchilli, chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences. 

“Although previous studies have examined the prevalence of Long COVID symptoms among patients, this study examined a larger population, including people in high-, middle- and low-income countries, and examined many more symptoms. Therefore, we believe our findings are quite robust given the available data.”

“The burden of poor health in COVID-19 survivors is overwhelming,” said co-lead investigator Dr. Paddy Ssentongo, assistant professor at the Penn State Center for Neural Engineering. 

“Among these are the mental health disorders. One’s battle with COVID doesn’t end with recovery from the acute infection. Vaccination is our best ally to prevent getting sick from COVID-19 and to reduce the chance of Long COVID even in the presence of a breakthrough infection.”

The mechanisms by which COVID-19 causes lingering symptoms in survivors are not fully understood. These symptoms could result from immune-system overdrive triggered by the virus, lingering infection, reinfection or an increased production of autoantibodies. 

According to the researchers, early intervention will be critical for improving the quality of life for many COVID-19 survivors. They said that in the years ahead, healthcare providers will likely see an influx of patients with psychiatric and cognitive problems, such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, who were otherwise healthy before their COVID-19 infection. 

Based on these findings, healthcare providers should plan and allocate resources accordingly in order to effectively monitor and treat these conditions, the team said. 

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A Chance for Life extends neurorehab in the North

The move will extend the range of patient services in the area and improves patient journeys

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Neurological physiotherapy provider Neurocare Physiotherapy now falls under the umbrella of complex case management and rehabilitation specialist A Chance for Life. 

The move extends the range of patient services in the North and improves patient journeys, too.

There is an inevitable challenge for any organisation delivering neuro rehab. With such a wide range of conditions to treat, it can be difficult for any organisation to build a pool of expertise large and diverse enough to service them all.

But Louise Chance, founder of A Chance for Life Ltd, the specialist in rehabilitation support work, case management, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and medico-legal reporting, has found a solution to that challenge.

Louise has combined her team’s capabilities with those of Lancashire-based Neurocare Physiotherapy. 

For almost two decades, Neurocare Physiotherapy has treated patients across the North West of England for neurological conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, foot drop, head injury and other disorders.

For much of that time, A Chance for Life has worked in a similar space from its base in Penrith, providing support for clients who often have a variety of social, physical, mental and vocational needs.

Louise saw an opportunity to bring the two organisations together: “We saw that what we do and where we do it dovetails nicely.

“Being able to expand the range of care we offer across the North of England and Southern Scotland is so important, because it means our clients can access more of the support they need from a single source.”

Get in touch to find out more on 01768 891709.

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