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Team providing independence to people with learning disabilities up for top NHS award


A team that launched a new initiative in Flintshire to help people with a learning disability cope at home with their medication has been shortlisted for the NHS Wales Awards 2022. 

The team is made up of staff from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and Flintshire County Council working in partnership to support people with a learning disability, living in their own homes, who need medication administering via a gastrostomy feeding tube. 

The initiative supports education and training for care staff to safely and effectively administer medication via gastrostomy tubes. This helps those people who have a learning disability and a gastrostomy tube, live more independently at home and imposes less restrictions providing an improved quality of life, and gives nurses time to see more patients. 

The team, shortlisted for NHS Wales Awards’ Improving Health and Wellbeing category, is led by Penny Bailey a Community Learning Disability Nurse from BCUHB, who has been the key coordinator for the success of the team approach.  

Penny said: “I have worked with members of the multidisciplinary team, Flintshire County Council and Care Inspectorate Wales for several years, we have strived to attain this position where un-registered care staff could safely administer medication via gastrostomy for people within their own homes at home, including those who wish to move into their own home. Historically, district nurses would visit to administer medication, which was not only restrictive for the person receiving it but also posed a risk if the person required critically timed medication. 

“This led to launching the initiative for a developing safe governance framework for the administration of medication to be delegated to care staff who were already attending the home and caring for other aspects of the person’s needs.  

“Providing education and training both theoretical and practical aspects, care staff who are familiar with the person can become competent and confident to administer medication. Through the nature of their role and interactions with the person, care staff are better placed to observe and report any concerns. The team approach has helped ensure people can stay independent in their own home and gives district nurses time back to visit more patients.” 

The BCUHB team also includes Paula Edwards, Jenni Wykes and Many Kerr, Nutritional Nurses, Zoe Scott and Mandy Lee-Evans, Out of Hours District Nurses, Kate Dymond, Dietitian, and Lisa Bradford, Medicines Management Nurse; Nicola Wakefield, Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Cherry Reid, District Nurse. 

Flintshire Supported Living team includes Darren Rhodes, Team Manager Supported Domiciliary and Residential Services Learning Disabilities, and Mark Holt, Services Manager Resources and Regulated Services. 

Flintshire’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Wellbeing, Councillor Christine Jones, said: “I am delighted to see that this excellent initiative has been recognised and has been shortlisted for this award. Flintshire is fully committed to providing quality services for people with learning disabilities and will always work with partners to make sure this happens. This is a great example of partnership working with our colleagues in health to ensure that our residents are able to live independently at home while receiving the health care they need.” 

The team is sharing the results of the initiative to promote the model of care with the aim of implementing it across North Wales. 

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health is up for four awards in this year’s NHS Wales Awards. The community cardiology diagnostic vehicle has also been shortlisted for the Improving Health and Wellbeing, and for the ‘Empowering people to co-produce their care’ award BCUHB has been shortlisted for its new heart failure remote monitoring app and its Long Covid Lived Experience Partnership Group.