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What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

“Our bodies process so much context, so much information, in encounters, that meeting on video is being a weird kind of blindfolded. We sense too little and can’t imagine enough.”  Gianpiero Petriglieri, management professor at INSEAD

A common theme emerging from COVID is the importance of communication, and the extra barriers imposed by various distancing and protective measures. These changes impact both inter-professional communication and professional patient/ family communication. Many communication programmes focus on “structured language” such as ISBAR and IPASS. Whilst useful, there is an increasing need for more fundamental approaches to listening and communication. For example, there is an increasing need to “listen differently”, to read and understand non verbal cues and clues. Another key lesson from COVID is the imperative to improve communications within and especially between different areas of care, (hospital, primary care, community, mental health services).

What does your project aim to achieve?

Aim; to develop, deliver and refine a communication programme which

  1. Enhances the listening and communication skills of the participants
  2. Identify the essential elements of a programme which will allow us to refine the content and structure
  3. Minimises financial and time cost of training
  4. Identify and address key barriers imposed by COVID to communication in healthcare
  5. Develop a “Train the Trainer” module to scale up this training
  6. Build cross borders links between staff and Q members across the UK and ROI
  7. Identify ways of improving communication between professionals and patients/ service users

Based on the extensive experience of one of the team members (Cathy McDonald) with a long history as a police hostage negotiator who now delivers training in communication to many organisations and professionals, we aim to develop a programme tailored for healthcare staff, and specifically focusing on challenges imposed by COVID.

How will the project be delivered?

  1. Entirely virtual delivery. CM has transitioned her 2 day face to face course to a virtual delivery via ZOOM. The feedback has been extremely positive.
  2. A project team steering group with representatives from each organisation and jurisdiction (ROI, NI, Scotland) will oversee the development and delivery
  3. Seek participants (both professionals and service users) from different services (acute service, primary care, social care, mental health) tapping into the Q community network
  4. Each learning session will be evaluated and refined based on feedback and lessons learned, and subsequent sessions modified based on these lessons
  5. “Graduation” following an optional simulated conversation scenario
  6. Key risks include:
    1. Ongoing service pressures drawing staff away
    2. Dependence on a single expert
    3. Dissipation of impact by focussing on too many disparate areas
  7. Leveraging the Q Network to identify key influencers will mitigate many of these risks

How is your project going to share learning?

  1. Detailed evaluation and feedback during and after the programme
  2. Identify local “communication champions and with them co-design a “Train the Trainer” module which will allow scale up of the programme
  3. Disseminate results throughout the Q Community
  4. Provision of an introductory on-line resource, outlining the key elements of the communication programme, and outcomes
  5. Presentation +/- publication of results
  6. Use of social media e.g. Twitter to share lessons, learning and content
  7. Share outcomes with relevant professional bodies (e.g. Royal Colleges) and leverage their networks for learning

How you can contribute

  • Be a critical friend
  • Suggest changes and improvements
  • Express interest in being involved, especially as a team encompassing disparate sectors or areas (e.g. acute hospital, community) and including patients/ service users

Plan timeline

1 Nov 2020 Establish steering group and working group
1 Dec 2020 Complete Charter and sign off
1 Dec 2020 Complete evaluation report
1 Dec 2020 expressions of interest from Q community for inclusion in training
4 Jan 2021 Engage with main stakeholders
20 Jan 2021 Identify programme manager
1 Mar 2021 Work with CM to define content and delivery of programme
17 Mar 2021 Procure license for appropriate software platform (e.g. ZOOM) if required
1 Apr 2021 Appoint programme manager
1 Apr 2021 Design programme
1 Apr 2021 Select first cohort
1 Jun 2021 Deliver course 1
15 Jun 2021 Modify and adapt based on feedback
1 Sep 2021 Deliver course 2
15 Sep 2021 Modify and adapt based on feedback
1 Oct 2021 Develop Train the Trainer programme
1 Oct 2021 Develop on line module
12 Oct 2021 Deliver course 3
27 Oct 2021 Modify and adapt based on feedback

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