Over the years, Flo has supported many children and parents with their healthcare needs, with the benefits being enjoyed by both patients and clinicians. Consequently, the Community of Practice is now seeing a sustained increase in clinical interest in this area. Therefore, in support, we are extending the reach of our Condition Based Member’s Networks and launching a new area of interest for clinicians delivering paediatric and young adult services. The network’s aim is to share and discover how other like-minded clinicians have been innovating with Flo, and the learning that has been created by this. For an example of one of our other networks, please see here.
To launch the Paediatric and Young Adult Member’s Network, we would like to take this opportunity to share with you an overview of some of the inspirational innovation that is being delivered across the Simple Telehealth Community of Practice.
Supporting Children and Young Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
One of the most sustained applications of Flo’s support is for patients with Type 1 diabetes. Children and young people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes can find adapting to and managing their condition particularly challenging, as it often happens at a time in their life of already increased physical, psychological and social change. Much like with adult diabetes pathways, Flo is on hand to provide additional support to help children and young adults: engage with their health, feel more in control of their condition and improve their education early on via an accessible and effective tool; their mobile phone. Flo has proven to be particularly effective within younger cohorts due to their familiarity with technology and the fact that they find that receiving simple SMS text messages is discreet, uncomplicated, and does not interfere with their wider use of their handset e.g. using data.
Two patients who have benefitted from Flo’s helpful messages are Naomi and Erin. Naomi had struggled to manage her diabetes throughout her teens resulting in raised HbA1c and the development of diabetic bulimia due to concerns over weight gain. But with Flo’s support she was able to significantly reduce her HbA1c, which improved her long-term health outcomes. Similarly, Erin was struggling to manage her diabetes, and had been unfortunately previously admitted to hospital with ketoacidosis. Following her admission, Erin was introduced to Flo and was also able to reduce both her HbA1c from 112mmol to 83mmol, and also the risk of long-term complications due to poorly controlled diabetes.
Supporting Early Years Practitioners to embed changes in their clinical practice
NHS Highland have integrated Flo as part of their “Words Up” initiative. Words Up provides training to Early Years Practitioners, Teachers and Pupil Support Assistants to ensure that adult-children interaction is of a high quality to help to improve language and communication skills. The team have harnessed Flo via a unique and interesting approach by providing support to practitioners in reinforcing key elements of their training. Practitioners interact with Flo around the topics covered, which in turn refreshes and compounds the key messages shared during their training. Practitioners are also asked how easy or difficult they are finding making changes, which allows them to reflect and seek additional support if needed. To find out more about Words Up, take a look at this blog.
For patients with asthma, ensuring compliance with inhaler regimes is key in controlling the condition and symptoms. For younger children with asthma, parents or carers usually take on the responsibility for ensuring that inhalers are taken as prescribed which can sometimes be difficult due to the competing priorities of family life. As a helpful prompt for parents, Flo has been recruited as a timely nudge to administer their child’s inhaler. You can find out more by watching this short video of Dr John Alexander from the University Hospital of North Midlands talking about how Flo has been helping his patients and the benefits she brings to patients, parents and his team.
Children’s Community Nursing – Enabling Remote Enteral Feeding and Blood Pressure Monitoring
The Children’s Community Nursing Team within Shropshire Community Health Care NHS Foundation Trust developed two innovative pathways around supporting parents whose children undergo enteral feeding, and also those whose children require scheduled blood pressure monitoring. Around enteral feeding, parents are prompted to send Flo their child’s weight, instead of having to arrange their schedule around a visit from a member of the Children’s Nursing team. For children requiring BP readings to be taken at regular intervals, Flo prompts parents to take them and reply with the reading. For both pathways, augmenting the patient’s normal shared management plan, if any child’s readings are outside of the desirable range, the Children’s Community Nursing Team would be notified, and be able to take appropriate action.
The implementation of Flo into these pathways has benefitted both staff, children and their families. For families, sending readings into Flo gives them the freedom to not have to plan around visits from the Children’s Nursing Team. Flo also reassures them that if there is cause for concern, a member of the team can pick this up when reviewing the readings, and initiate any required action. For clinicians, Flo is helping to reduce the number of home visits required by some patients, enabling them to better manage their caseload and allocate resources to other patients who may require additional support.
A summary report by Children’s Community Nursing Team found that across only 7 patients, a total of 795 clinical hours were saved, which released the same capacity as an extra 1.0wte nurse working for over 21 weeks. To find out more about these pathways, take a look at the following blog.
For information on how to join the network please contact Kylie.Dentith@simple.uk.net
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