A team from the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) has been named as finalists at this year’s HSJ Patient Safety Awards.

The Quality team has been shortlisted for the Deteriorating Patients and Rapid Response Initiative of the Year, for their work to improve early recognition of frailty, end-of-life planning, and responding to the health decline of individuals in care homes.

The HSJ Patient Safety Awards aims to recognise, reward and thank hardworking teams and individuals for their commitment to improving safety, culture and experience in patient care.

The Quality team introduced the FREED (Frailty, Recognising End of life, Escalating Deterioration) pathway to help provide safe, compassionate care for older people living with frailty in care homes across the Black Country.

The purpose of the pathway is to ensure the best evidence assessments and care planning prevents inappropriate admissions to hospital and ensure residents are on the right pathway, at the right time, and are cared for in the right place based on their wishes and condition, promoting choice, control at end of life.

Sarah Sherwood, Quality Improvement and Care Academy Lead Nurse for the NHS Black Country ICB, said: “We are delighted that our work with care homes in the Black Country has been recognised at this year’s HSJ awards.

“Historically, care homes first response was to use the 999 service for residents they feel needed medical assistance. The FREED pathway is focused on supporting care home workers to identify soft signs of deteriorating residents and carry out clinical observations enabling them to direct individuals to the correct service in a timely manner.

“It’s really rewarding to see the difference this is making in our communities, and to be shortlisted against some stiff competition shows just how important this piece of work is.”

Mark Axcell, Chief Executive Officer for the NHS Black Country ICB, said: “Across health and care, our staff work hard every day to support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“We are absolutely delighted that our Quality team has been shortlisted for such a prestigious award that showcases the very best in patient care.

“This fantastic achievement recognises the hard work and dedication of the team, who have gone above and beyond for care home residents in the Black Country.

“Huge congratulations to all those involved.”

The winners of the HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2023 will be announced during an awards ceremony in Manchester on Monday 18 September.

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