Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) has formed a Holistic Care Team, to further improve the care given to patients with complex needs.

With the addition of this specialist service, health professionals within the Trust are hoping to further embed a ‘holistic approach’ in the way patients receive care. This means providing support that looks at the whole person, not just their physical health needs, considering an individual’s mental, emotional and social wellbeing. In all, it means placing an increased importance upon patients’ overall wellness, not just seeing them a series a symptoms or conditions which must be solved or alleviated.

The team, which consists of specialist nurses as well as allied health professionals with significant expertise of preventing falls and deconditioning, was formed on 1 March 2021. Initially concentrating their efforts within Ward 16 and 17 (Stroke, Diabetes and Endochrine), the newly formed service will be piloted as a Quality Improvement (Qi) project, the Trust’s internal method of developing and enhancing processes, before a further roll-out within the organisation’s three main hospital sites.

Julie Wragg, Person Centred Care Practitioner and member of the Holistic Care Team, said: “As a Trust, we recognise that patient safety, when linked with cognitive impairment, is often challenging to manage, particularly with the pressures wards are currently experiencing as a result of COVID-19. As a team we will offer additional perspective and guidance for patients with dementia, delirium, enhanced supervision needs and falls risk factors. This support will help us to improve the care and treatment for individuals, as well as their experience whilst in hospital.”

Now in post, the team are able to aid a patient’s cognition, advise on care plans, as well as help manage the behaviour of those patients with complex needs. Health professionals within the Trust hope that this will help to improve care and treatment and support staff in managing any difficulties that develop when a patient becomes agitated or upset as a result of their condition and their unfamiliar surroundings. Patients will also partake in stimulating and entertaining exercises with the team, which will bring comfort and aid relaxation, helping them to remain safe as well as prevent deconditioning which may lead to a fall.

Abigail Trainer, Deputy Chief Nurse at the Trust, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to develop and introduce this team at the Trust. As we look towards the future, now is the perfect time to introduce this service to ensure that patients receive the very best treatment, but also holistic care to support them every step of the way throughout their hospital journey. As an organisation it is our ambition to the be the safest in England, outstanding in all that we do – I believe the introduction of the Holistic Care Team will help us to reach this goal.”

The team are available to support both patients and colleagues Monday to Friday, and the effectiveness of the service will be evaluated and tweaked as it is further embedded within the pilot areas.