Cumbrian Therapist makes the shortlist for inspirational Kate Granger Awards

Local speech and language therapist at Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust, Sarah Linnard, has been shortlisted for this year’s Kate Granger Compassionate Care Awards.

Now in their third year, the awards were set up by Kate Granger, the terminally ill doctor who worked tirelessly to raise awareness around compassion in the NHS through her #hellomynameis social media campaign.

Nine nominees across the country make up the final shortlist this year, and Sarah has been recognised for her compassionate work with the elderly living in care homes. Sarah, realising that that traditional way speech therapists offer advice could be improved by incorporating mealtimes as a positive shared experience, rather than a routine task.

Sarah has worked directly with care home staff and managers in the Carlisle, Longtown and Brampton areas to take a shared responsibility for better safety at mealtimes, which will see each care home having a designated staff member linking with the speech and language service.

Sarah’s leadership and joint approach to problem solving for service improvement has been embraced by senior managers through to carers in care homes and at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Sarah Linnard, specialist speech and language therapist, at Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust said: “It’s a real honour to be shortlisted and I feel very privileged to have my work recognised in this way. It’s comforting to know that mealtimes for people who are cared for in homes, will be a more a positive and enjoyable one for them personally, as well as being beneficial for their health and wellbeing.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do this alone; I have had great support from care home staff and managers, who have all enabled my vision to become a reality”

Paul Attwood, speech and language clinical lead, at Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust, who nominated Sarah, said: “Sarah has clearly demonstrated compassionate innovative care. She initially identified a problem in nursing homes, realising that the meal time environment was not always positive. She identified that some changes could be made to the consistency of food and drink to meet their needs and that staff could engage more with patients during mealtimes.

“Her collaborative approach with the care homes has been of positive benefit to carers and residents. The strong leadership she has shown in a difficult environment has been exemplary.”

Further information:

The shortlist is made up of three nominees in each of the three award categories.

The first award is for an individual working in the NHS or delivering NHS funded services. The others are for teams or organisations who are part of the NHS, or who deliver NHS funded services. These services can be delivered in hospitals, or in a primary care, community or residential setting.

Those shortlisted have all demonstrated how they have made a fantastic difference to patient care and, in particular, shown evidence of:

an ambitious and innovative way of delivering care
high-quality management and leadership
an approach that can be easily measured and have a real impact
how the approach has made a difference to patient care
how it makes a difference in the long term
how easily it can be replicated in other organisations

It was while undergoing treatment for cancer that Kate started writing about seeing the NHS “through the eyes of a patient”. She launched #hellomynameis campaign to talk about some of her intensely moving experiences. The campaign reminds health care professionals of the importance of introducing themselves to patients and how a relatively ‘little thing’ can positively affect a patient’s experience of the treatment and care they receive. It is now backed by more than 100 health trusts.

This year’s Kate Granger Awards ceremony is sponsored by HIMSS UK, a leader of transformation across health and care services using health IT.  Through its communities, analytics, media and events, HIMSS provides multiple platforms to provide health and care professionals with the rights tools and knowledge to deliver improved patient outcomes and efficiencies using technology.

For updates on Twitter follow #KGAwards16 and #Expo16NHS