Training course is Good to Go

One attendee in a scenario with actors

Good to Go: Enhancing Patient Transfer is a new simulation-based training course for health and social care professionals to improve care transfers of older people with complex needs leaving hospital.

It is for all health and social care professionals involved in care transfers. This is the first multi-professional training course which includes social workers to be run at the Simulation and Interactive Learning (SaIL) Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.

The course was developed by the SaIL Centre and London South Bank University, supported by Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care, which received funding from Health Education South London.

Lesley Baillie, Professor of Clinical Nursing Practice at the University, explained: “Through our research we know that care transfers for older people with complex needs is a challenge nationally, so we wanted to develop a course that helped patients and staff have the best possible experience of care transfers.”

Staff engage in a full day of immersive and life-like simulations that are based on real life experiences local people have described and reflect what staff do in their everyday working lives. The simulations are set in hospital and community environments, using clinical equipment, state-of-the-art technology, and professional actors playing the roles of patients and relatives. This provides a safe learning environment in which staff can put their skills to practise, reflect on how they handle potentially stressful situations, and how their role interacts with patients and other members of the wider team. This kind of innovative training improves the patient experience and patient safety, as training can be done away from the real clinical environment.

One attendee trying to eat in the ageing suiteThe participants are also given the opportunity to wear ageing suites, to try to understand what it physically feels like to be 80 years old.

Lesley said: “We produced the course with local people and staff, to make sure it met the training needs of all health and social care professionals, the patients and families. It takes the local situation into consideration, in terms of system issues and barriers. The simulation aspect of the course provides the participants with opportunities for deeper learning.

“Through our engagement with local people, they told us they want to be more involved in decisions and to talk about discharge early, so it isn’t a surprise to them when it happens.

“There is a lot of evidence that shows good, early communication between teams and with the patient and family is important for transfers of care. So it is ideal to have a range of professionals from hospital, community and social care staff together, as equals. I hope the participants will take away an understanding and recognition of the importance of effective communication, which they can apply in practice.”

A variety of health and social care professionals from across Southwark and Lambeth have already attended the course; from social workers to pharmacists, and consultant geriatricians to physiotherapists working in hospitals and the community.

Dr Beth Thomas, Clinical Simulation Educator at the SaIL Centre, said: “I’m thrilled with how the course has turned out. Normally we identify and design training courses around clinical training needs, but this was different, as we developed it around the transfer of care process and the multi-professional and multi-agency working needs, as well as what local people and staff were telling us they wanted.”

“For me, the biggest value of the course is the multi-professional and multi-agency aspect – breaking down barriers between hospital and community care, and between health and social care. The shared insight and understanding of what other people’s position, pressures and roles are that participants gain is vital. This equips them with the skills to work effectively regardless of the challenges and barriers to care transfers, while the Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care partnership improves the overall process.”

Victoria Bates, Physiotherapist in Elderly Rehabilitation at King’s College Hospital, said: “The course furthered my awareness of MDT working during the discharge process. It was really helpful to have the opportunity and time to consider all factors.”Victoria in the ageing suite

Keith Clark, Social Worker at Southwark Council, who attended the first Good to Go course, said: “I found the course extremely beneficial and it successfully implemented training in a truly multidisciplinary way.

“This is also the first training course I have attended where I felt that a close to real life simulated environment has been successfully used to create a really immersive training experience. This helped us [the participants] to employ our existing skills and effectively reflect upon our practice in an environment of learning.”

Robin Dunn, who plays the role of the patient, said: “It’s good for the participants to see things from a different perspective, especially from the patient’s point of view. We try to make it as real as possible, so they can believe in the characters.”

The course aims to:

  • To draw upon shared experience and knowledge to identify and promote best practise for the safe transfer of patient care across a range of settings.
  • To develop and enhance discharge planning skills including effective communication with patients, family and the ability to work within a multi-agency, multi-professional arena.

You can find more information about the course and how to register here.