Meet the team
Service Improvement Facilitator
Southern Health and Social Care Trust
- Northern Ireland
Senior Improvement Advisor
- Northern Ireland
- Mark Irwin - Operational Manager Short Breaks/ICT & Social Work/Social Care Professional Lead
- Elaine Mooney - Elaine Mooney, Head of Service, Children with Disabilities Team
What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?
An innovative idea was piloted using the Model for Improvement with the aim of utilising existing contracted and non-contracted voluntary sector partners to provide unique 1:1 or 2:1 tailored care packages for priority children in the community with additional support from the Short Breaks Team, Community Access Team and Transition Planning Team.
· Families have been able to remain together and continue functioning without their children being admitted to the care system.
· Parents/carers noted improved mental health for themselves and also their children.
· Increased confidence (91% of children), resilience and self-esteem were cited as positive outcomes from attending the activities.
· Many of the sessions provided safe socialisation opportunities during lockdown and the importance of family was reinforced through some of the resources.
· 45% of the children had started to make progress within teamwork and working together whilst other parents noted their children having improved speech.
What does your project aim to achieve?
At the outbreak of Covid 19, Children’s Disability services worked with over 630 families within the Southern Health and Social Care Trust via a mixture of residential, short breaks fostering and contracted/non-contracted community programmes.
The project is primarily designed to support families and stop children with a disability being admitted to the care system when normal support systems are disrupted or withdrawn due to COVID-19 or other system pressures. Traditional services and education cease or are disrupted during these uncertain times which places additional stressors on these individuals. These families already often struggle to manage due to the additional needs of their children and these circumstances can overwhelm their coping abilities without an adequate respite response from statutory services.
How will the project be delivered?
Specifically within the Trust we would like to upscale this model and develop it further to target complex children with severe challenging behaviour who are unable to access many life opportunities and services. Additional funding would allow the Trust to commission and train staff and voluntary services in cases that require a 2 or 3:1 staffing ratio to manage the needs of these complex children. The proposed service would be providing a service with increased staffing levels where the child could be cared for and stimulated on their own in a safe environment.
The project has and will deliver value for money as it is much cheaper than residential/foster care and the basic components tend to be simple but effective. The fact that 30 children availed of the service from March – June 2020 shows that the model manages risk effectively in very dangerous and uncertain times.
How is your project going to share learning?
The project will share learning by developing the model/guidance document and then disseminating locally, regionally and nationally through the Q Community and other stakeholders. This model shows that moving very quickly and instigating positive intervention within a rapidly evolving situation is possible if there is true partnership and collaboration. The element of clear lines of communication is one of the key themes that will be shared in addition to overt roles and responsibilities.
This model could also be equally applied to adult services.
How you can contribute
- Are there similar models out there?
- Critical friend
|28 Feb 2021||Finalise job description and personnel criteria.|
|28 Feb 2021||Scoping of providers and stakeholders for additional views|
|15 Mar 2021||Agree data collection process and tools.|
|15 Mar 2021||Liaison with therapeutic services and training staff.|
|15 Mar 2021||Scoping of high priority children within disability caseloads, agree criteria|
|15 Mar 2021||Submit recruitment E-requisition|
|15 Apr 2021||Commence recruitment process|
|2 May 2021||Interview 2 x band 4 support workers|
|15 Jun 2021||Commence induction and training for band 4 support workers.|
|1 Jul 2021||Commence role and assist with summer schemes|
|5 Sep 2021||Local launch of project and communicating service|
|15 Dec 2021||Interim progress evaluation of project report|
|31 Mar 2022||Final evaluation of service and wider regional dissemination|
29 Sep 2021
What have you learned so far, either from the successes you have had or from where things haven’t gone to plan?
Significant issues with centralised recruitment system beyond our control has delayed the recruitment and start of social care support staff by about 3 months. However, past experience of these systems meant that we decided to proceed with induction training for these individuals prior to their official commencement date so we did not miss key training opportunities.
What could others learn from your experience of working with a range of stakeholders and collaborating across boundaries (geographical, professional, sector) – including what is working well and any challenges you have faced?
The big learning from this has been that silo mentality can be tackled when there is a clear simple message that is articulated and communicated clearly. This has meant that we have buy in from parents/carers, the voluntary sector, statutory sector including social care, clinical colleagues and AHP’s. The wide range of stakeholders has also touched the project with credibility as any potential issues would be addressed and highlighted from different perspectives. An open and honest learning culture has meant that different people understand the concept of using an existing evidence base to do something new and innovative. Challenges have been in engaging more parents/carers as their caring roles are intensive and their time precious. We have engaged with the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership (CYPSP) – the families, multi-disciplinary team, and the children. Used emerging and existing PPI groups to help inform and influence the development of the project) – Job roles on what the support workers would be doing have been based on what parents told us via questionnaires and working groups. Professionals within the multi-disciplinary process have also informed the development of the service in addition to the views of children captured via summer schemes and 1:1 bespoke packages evaluation. For example we learned that children liked it being 1 to 1 as they were able to get loads of interaction done on a one to one basis and it has worked. We were advised by some professionals that children with a disability would not be able to tolerate person wearing ppe – there were very little problems with this – lanyard with worker photos was one solution – they were happy with them wearing the mask . some of the families who were managing quite well prior to Covid and not on the edge of care list were the ones who required this service during covid – this was unexpected but important learning about what can happen in a crisis.
What are the next steps for your project over the coming months?
Commence workers and complete their induction and specialised training. Begin screening referrals and allocate cases based on priority need. Link with specialist services including IDCAMHS and Autism services to provide advice and resources to intervene effectively. We anticipate that out of 16 hours per week (per worker) 10-12 hours will be spent face-to-face with families including travel as Northern Ireland is a rural community; 4-6 hours will be spent at admin and attending multi-disciplinary meetings. The outcome measures will be captured utilising existing recording proforma’ s provided by the therapeutic team and contact sheets uploaded onto the PARIS information system. Baseline presentation will be agreed at initial multi-disciplinary meeting and desired outcomes will be highlighted and any changes ascertained. We will use a simple scaling questionnaire to reduce the demands on the parents/carers providing feedback which will focus on areas such as stress/fatigue levels, mental health and has this service helped them – much of the evaluative material will be qualitative supplemented with some quantitative information around the number of challenging incidents etc. Intervention will normally take place and be measured over 6 weeks.
How can the community get involved in your project?
We are sure that there have been similar early/crisis intervention family support models completed before that can be used to inform practice. We need to add the therapeutic dimension and input to build on this within the context of harmonious and coordinated multi-disciplinary working. Therefore any advice from the Q community on how to do this effectively would be greatly appreciated.
September 2021: Q Report against milestones
Our Q Exchange project continues to progress positively. We have been providing updates on the Q Exchange website. This month we are providing a short update on the progress made against the original project timeline and how the outline plan for Q resources.
QI methodology has informed our project. we have applied this to our project, ensuring all risks and lessons learnt are logged at each monthly managers meeting.
Project Plan Timeline
4th April 2021 – Scoping of providers and stakeholders for additional views, perceptions and information.
12th April 2021 – Liaison with psychology and Trust therapeutic Scaffold service to agree key training needs and staff qualities and qualifications. Agree appropriate supervision arrangements. Agree practical resources/equipment required for workers and source funding for same within existing Operational Manager for Short Breaks budget.
30th April 2021 – Finalise job description and personnel criteria.
14th May 2021 – Submit recruitment E-requisition and commence recruitment process.
6th June 2021 – Completion of Good Practice Guide.
14th June 2021 – Scoping of high priority children within children with disability caseloads. Agree referral criteria for service and identify appropriate decision making forum to process potential applications for service.
15th June 2021 – Interviews for 2 x band 4 social care support workers – this was delayed until 21st July 2021 by central recruitment issues.
26th July 2021 – Complete induction, mandatory and role specific training for social care support workers which will be sourced “in house”. – this was commenced 23 – 24th August prior to the workers official start date due to delays with recruitment with further training to follow.
28th September 2021 – Commence social care support worker (x1) role second social care support worker following within the next 2 weeks.
22nd October 2021 – Induction and specialist training for social care support workers complete.
1st November 2021 – commencement of Role of Social Care Support Worker x 2 (16hrs per week)
8th November 2021 – Local Launch Event for new service.
17th January 2022 – Interim Progress Evaluation of Project Report
31 March 2022 – Final Evaluation of Service and Wider Regional Dissemination.