Frailsafe – “All share, all learn”

logoZoe Wyrko is the BGS Director of Workforce Planning; she’s previously blogged about Frailsafe, the British Geriatrics Society project funded by the Health Foundation to improve the acute care of older people being admitted to hospital, and tweets @geri_baby.

Frailsafe is starting to happen! It’s been an exciting (and exhausting) week for the team, with the first learning session taking place over three days in Sheffield.

In addition to multidisciplinary teams from the 12 sites chosen to take the project forward, we have had stakeholder involvement with Tom Gentry from AgeUK, patient involvement with Olive and Ron who attended a couple of sessions on day 2, but more importantly an overwhelming sense of enthusiasm to make the Frailsafe checklist for admissions work. We’ve been immortalised in art by our illustrator, and we’ve been interviewed and filmed for a Frailsafe promotional video.

The learning environment has been truly multidisciplinary, (doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, OTs, pharmacists and hospital managers) and the team from Sheffield Microsystems Coaching Academy have been sharing their extensive skills and knowledge with us. Some of the concepts have been totally new, but in other areas I’ve been left thinking ‘Why on earth haven’t we been doing that already? It seems so logical.’ And I’m not the only one: another colleague is relieved because he now understands why his managers keep trying to make him do things with Post-it notes.

BydHrrGIAAATddsAn element of cynicism is likely when doctors are presented with timetables which include a ‘paper aeroplane factory’ and ‘the marshmallow challenge,’ but with hindsight it is impossible to argue with the practical illustrations delivered by these training sessions. Why are we as clinicians so reluctant to adopt proven messages and systems learned by industry to improve quality and consistency? Even the ice-breaker – asking delegates to arrange themselves in a line according to distance travelled – was a lesson in systems and complexity. We have learnt about the psychology of improvement, how to understand and appreciate systems, and how even at a relatively basic level of knowledge we can improve the patient journey while bringing colleagues along with us.

We’ve also been able to speak about how Frailsafe got to where it is now; the reasoning behind the questions we chose for the checklist, and (probably more importantly) why certain areas are not included. The unveiling of Frailsafe version 8 was a big moment, and emphasised  the importance of having professional designers involved in a project such as this!

Byc4dqlIgAAZ7suThe final day of the session was used for planning, with  each hospital team working with the microsystems coach who will be supporting them closely throughout the Frailsafe project. The sites each left with an individual plan of how they will start to use the checklist immediately, using the mantra of ‘start small, get bigger,’ but, more importantly, reassurance and understanding of what to do if success isn’t immediate.

Our continued thanks go to the Frailsafe partners, especially The Health Foundation who have made this work possible. Please look at our website, as many of the learning materials will be available there soon.

And if anyone is interested – Glasgow and Craigavon jointly won the paper aeroplane factory, and Sandwell were the ‘Mr Potato Head’ champions!

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