Care is our business, and providing care in community settings - closer to home for our vulnerable and frail elderly population is clearly a priority for us all, but one particularly for district nursing services. We also need to remember the diverse and range of support they provide in supporting health and wellbeing in the community including; complex care, end of life care, management of long-term conditions and delivering public health.
In May this year, we set off on a journey with the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) our strategic partners, our aim being to develop a new vision and service model for district nursing services. We have worked with district nurses, their teams and wider stakeholders to develop a vision that captures the essence of the service and how we take the service forward for future years. A service that is recognised as dynamic and responding to population and individual need – a service that delivers across the life course and contributes to all conditions - this needs to be understood by commissioners, partners and the public.
We shared the draft vision at the QNI conference in October and asked for feedback. We received a lot of feedback and constructive comments on the vision and how this has raised the profile of what seemed like a forgotten service. We have worked with the QNI and NHS Commissioning Board to incorporate this into the vision and service offer.
The district nurses we have met and worked with talked passionately about the service and care they delivered – often describing the service as the ‘glue’ to hold things for patients. Helping patients navigate through the complexity of health and social care is fundamental to the service, for many patients and carers they rely on the knowledge, expertise that the district nursing team bring.
Delivering care in peple’s home requires a defined skill set – respectfulness is essential. The seamless support provided is underpinned by the collaborative working, the current emphasis on integrated working with social care offers further opportunities to improve care in the community. District nursing services have strong foundations and embrace innovation to support new ways of working. The government drive to use of technology to improve mobilise working and support care will be of great benefit district nursing teams across England.
Care in local communities: a new vision and model for district nursing published today, is framed in the wider vision and strategy for nurses, midwives and care staff Compassion in Practice, the 6C’s clearly resonate with district nursing services and this provides an opportunity to re-affirm the core values of the service. The priority actions provide a framework on which to structure the way forward and future ways of working. The NHS CB will now lead the implementation phase – working with Clinical Commissioning Groups, Local Action Teams and practitioners to ensure the service model is embedded through local actions.
We have worked with district nurses from across England who shared their experiences, their commitment and demonstrated their compassion through patient stories and their own personal reflections. We have worked with QNI, NHS CB and importantly district nurses themselves to mobilise the profession and raise the profile of the dynamic and essential service, which supports care closer to home.
A special thanks to all of you who have been involved and gave up your time, shared your expertise and supported this development phase – finally none of this would ave been possible with out the support and drive from Anne Pearson and Crystal Oldman from QNI.
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