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St Luke’s takes training into the community

OUR Project ECHO team has developed a training package to enable care home nurses to reach competency in the use of syringe driver pumps.


Project ECHO is the scheme that was launched to develop communities of practice in healthcare settings that may be hard to reach, such as care homes. 


The scheme, which utilises the latest video technology, has been successfully linking St Luke’s palliative care expertise to carers across the city for four years.


The latest initiative was aimed specifically at the use of syringe drivers, the small battery-powered pumps that deliver medication at a constant rate through a small plastic tube under the skin.


The Project ECHO team used to deliver syringe driver training in-house at care homes throughout the city but COVID-19 forced them to think creatively about how this training could be achieved while factoring in the challenges of social distancing, limited venues and rising demand for training.


“When COVID struck, our brief had to change and the emphasis was on training quickly,”  Community Nurse and Project ECHO Knowledge Network Lead Emma Westerdale-Shaw explained.


“We delivered a number of virtual sessions for community based medics to enable them to use equipment as soaring COVID cases led to an increase number of deaths in these settings.”


And out of that initial response - and in the wake of the second Coronavirus wave - came the specific syringe driving sessions.


With social distancing safeguards still of the greatest importance, however, choices had to be made on how to deliver workshops with minimum risk to participants and teachers.


The training is free to care homes, funded by the Sheffield CCG (Clinical Commissioning Groups) as part of a wider Care Home support package.


“We contacted Sheffield City Trust, who were very keen to support us in any way possible and once we had supplied them with our specifications, they were able to match us with an appropriate venue,” Emma said.


“So now we are holding twice monthly syringe drive workshops to nursing homes across Sheffield.


“Every effort has been taken to make the space COVID secure and participants will be required to complete a screening form, temperature check and don level one PPE before proceeding inside.


“Each person sit at single tables and the facilitators will move to their tables individually to asses competency, with the equipment  undergoing stringent decontamination between persons.


Even though the sessions have only just begun, they have already attracted interest from care homes homes across the city.


“The homes have really embraced this new way of teaching though, and we would hope that we can continue to run these sessions to cope with demand, as well as refreshers twice yearly,” said Emma.


“We are now working with the Sheffield CCG to determine what other training we can develop and deliver in the same mediums.”

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