Tag Archives: Covid-19

2020 and Covid-19: library and knowledge services getting evidence into practice

2020 has been an extraordinary year. Covid-19 has presented many challenges, particularly in phase one, including redeployment of library staff and space, IT connectivity to allow working from home and the development of virtual and digital services. However, library and knowledge staff have risen to meet and overcome these challenges, demonstrating resilience and adaptability. Messaging throughout the pandemic has been that library and knowledge staff are accessible and services have remained open for business, even if the doors to some physical spaces have been closed.

The role that library and knowledge specialists play in mobilising knowledge and evidence into practice has supported individual and organisational learning and Covid-19 decision making. This has raised the profile of library and knowledge services in many organisations.

  • Library and knowledge service managers working for the Trusts leading the Nightingales, developed tailored service offers into the new hospitals. The national HEE library and knowledge services LKS team has worked with this group of service managers to facilitate a community of practice to support learning and sharing.
  • Services have provided evidence support for Boards and supported the management of incidents by gold and silver command groups by delivering rapid evidence reviews.
  • Library and knowledge staff have used knowledge management tools to facilitate discussions and share learning for example, using After-Action Reviews to capture lessons learned and running Randomised Coffee Trials to share learning and keep staff connected.

Across the networks, we have seen greater collaborative working between services, for example through the sharing of expertise and supporting colleagues where capacity has been reduced. Collaborative working has also resulted sharing examples of Covid current awareness sharing bulletins and in the development of the Covid-19 Search Bank. Since the launch of the Search Bank in May, over 200 search strings and strategies have been published. Feedback from participants and users has been very positive and we are looking at what this experience can tell us about supporting expert searchers.

There has been a move to making greater use of technology, strengthening delivery of virtual services, including training, demonstrating a capability for rapid and agile development. Most services are now offering some type of virtual training session, and there are examples of development of online and e-learning modules to support induction and critical appraisal. The national CPD offers to develop skills in facilitating virtual meetings have been well received by library and knowledge staff.

The HEE Resource Discovery team has supported remote working by ensuring off-site access to OpenAthens administration tools. They also optimised access to the evidence-base by collating trusted evidence resources, with sources on the vaccine currently being pulled together, and signposting developments with BMJ Best Practice and access to e-books through the Kortext platform.

Library and knowledge staff have continued to provide knowledge services remotely throughout the pandemic. In May, 45% of our physical library services were either closed or open but not staffed. By October 20 this had reduced to just 11%. All services have worked with their organisations to adapt both the working and learning space within the library to ensure it is safe. Many of you have shared your approach, together with pictures of the changes including:

  • changes in layout for PC and study space
  • self-issuing systems
  • screens around library counters
  • booking systems for workstations.

Some services have added to the ways in which the library is valued by NHS staff as a wellbeing resource, creating and expanding the health and wellbeing space and collections for staff.

We are aware that there is pressure on library space in some organisations. Accordingly, we have prepared policy recommendations that emphasise the importance of library learning space, which will go to the HEE Executive for approval in January 2021.

Over the last few weeks HEE’s library and knowledge service regional teams have been ringing everyone. It has been good to catch up with you and find out what is currently happening in your services and organisations during the second wave. We will be considering all the feedback to identify any themes where areas for further support or training have been raised. In talking to you all it has been amazing to hear that, despite the challenges faced, many of you are still seeking out the opportunities in your organisations and continuing to develop the service through innovation and adopting good practice.

During the pandemic, services have captured some amazing impact stories which we are delighted to share some with you here. Working with the HEE Communications team, we have been using these to raise the profile of NHS library and knowledge services on social media. Please do continue to collect your impact case studies and share them with us.

We would like to finish this blogpost with thanks to you. Your work in mobilising evidence and knowledge to support Covid-19 decision making, supporting the health and wellbeing of NHS staff, and ensuring that accessible, evidence-based health information is made available for patients and the public, has made all for the difference to many lives during the pandemic.

Partnership working with Public Libraries- Health Information Covid-19 and Beyond

As we embark on Libraries Week 2020 alongside the context of Covid-19, it is timely to reflect on how we find stability in the professionalism and expertise of our colleagues locally, regionally and nationally, and extend this to collaborating with colleagues in other sectors.

Enabling the flow of quality information and evidence is not only a strategic driver underpinning all that we do (knowledge management); it is the ethos with which we take professional pride. Actualising this is our superpower!

Partnership working with Somerset public libraries has allowed Somerset NHS Foundation Trust library and knowledge services to see some successes in these challenging times.

Signposting to sources of trustworthy health information for Covid-19 and beyond

Establishing a good working relationship with the Development Officer (Health and Wellbeing) for Somerset Libraries worked well this year, especially for Health Information Week in July.

Previous years’ activities centered on engaging library users who physically visited the public library sites, and were promoted through a media campaign which included presence in the local press and BBC Radio Somerset. This year we had to find a different way of meeting health information needs, instead condensing activities into a coordinated social media campaign, highlighting the health information available through both services.

To set the scene, we provided public library staff with the following to inform their practice:

  • Health Education England’s national Library and Knowledge Services team has made available the https://library.nhs.uk/website which hosts information resources which front line staff can use to help them communicate effectively with patients, clients, and their families around Coronavirus.
  • The resources support NHS and social care organisations fulfil their obligations under the Accessible Information Standard to provide information for patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability, impairment or sensory loss.
  • HEE’s Library and Knowledge Services team identified that it is difficult to find information about COVID-19 in accessible formats and for specific patient groups. In liaison with Public Health England, NHS England/Improvement and the Patient Information Forum, they have compiled information:

The website includes easy read, sign language and Makaton formats as well as other communication guidance.

Poster for Somerset Libraries 2020 Health Information Week Campaign

As a result of our Health Information Week collaboration, Somerset libraries are going to build on the above by adding a section to their website giving advice for accessing health information. We are exploring the possibilities of an interactive web version of the poster or linking to our own soon to be established website.

‘Working with the staff at Musgrove Park Hospital library has been so helpful in providing us with the expertise and knowledge to ensure we are providing the public with the best information in accessing reliable health information. In particular, their training on finding reliable health information online, has been invaluable in this period of ‘fake news’ and our staff are now better equipped in signposting the public to the best available resources.’
Alex Cunningham-Scott, Development Officer (Health and Wellbeing,) Somerset Libraries

 Training the public library staff- finding a friendly socially distanced solution

Pre-Covid-19, we delivered face-to-face workshops to public library staff at various locations across the county. It allowed us insight into the challenges they faced, and the logistics of releasing and bringing staff together for training. Nonetheless, our ability to bolster skills for supporting health information was well received. Now we are faced with an additional challenge: how best to produce a digital version of our training. Training for public library staff is increasingly moving online, making the logistics of meeting less of a challenge. Perhaps a webinar would work best? Or if we recorded it, then we’d only need to do it once. These challenges are mirrored not only when we consider delivering our training offer to service users within the Trust, but in conversations across our health libraries network regionally and nationally. Now is the time to illustrate just how adaptable we are in our profession.

Promotion of public library electronic and audio book collection

In March, just before the lockdown, we facilitated a meeting between trust staff and the public library’s development lead, outreach librarian, and (perhaps most crucially) their digital technician to discuss the practicalities of enabling access to their electronic collection for our patients and carers.

We recruited trust staff with the following:

“We are currently working on a number of projects with our colleagues from the public library service. One of the ideas we have is around how best to utilise the public library electronic book/magazine stock and audio books for both staff and patients. These resources would promote wellbeing and also add to the patient experience while in hospital. You can find out more here:

https://www.somerset.gov.uk/libraries-leisure-and-communities/libraries/library-facilities/e-books-e-magazines-and-e-audiobooks/

Those who attended the meeting saw great potential for our patients; especially those staying with us for longer or undertaking rehabilitation and occupationally deprived.

Handling personal information, age restrictions/censorship etc. were raised, but balanced with the positive outcomes of more digitally literate trust staff, and the public library service signing up at least 5 new members!

As a result, a teacher in the hospital school described how We have laminated the fliers and dotted them around the wards to advertise the service.  We are hoping that patients will be able to use their own logins/devices to access the resources whilst patients and also when they leave us.”

We are early on the journey to capturing the impact of this partnership project, but (apologies for over- egging the metaphor pudding) there is some surety to be found that when navigating the Covid-19 infodemic/misinformation storm, we can ride the tide together to lead patients and the public to quality health and wellbeing resources they can trust. The mutual benefits of the partnership are already evident.

Siobhan Linsey
Deputy Library and Knowledge Services Manager
Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

Lesson Learnt: Supporting your organisation to capture the learning during Covid-19

Now that we are moving in to the next stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, your organisation may be beginning to reflect on the last three months. This period will be an important time for organisations to learn and develop based on experience and plan changes built on that new knowledge. Library and Knowledge specialists are in a unique position where we can share our expertise in capturing this knowledge for future planning and service development. Have you considered offering to support your organisation in capturing lessons learnt?

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen services undertake an intense and abrupt period of change, some of these changes will now be permanent. Some alterations will be reverted, but it is likely that at least some changes will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

This guide was recently shared on the KM email list and has been written by the RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce). The purpose of the guide is to help organisations make sense of the changes made in response to crisis management. Included is a grid which can help you to reflect on the changes that have occurred. What will remain in place, what needs to be reverted and which old practices have proved to be unnecessary. This is a simple and easy way to capture learning from a team and help them to see how they can plan for the future.

Some Library and Knowledge Services are already running these sessions. The team at Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have been using this framework from Collaborate for Social Care. There are either eight questions to work through to identify how the team are thinking and working in new ways, or there is a deeper thematic questionnaire to work through. This post from Collaborate for Care’s blog on the learning framework and how to use Covid-19 learning to shape the future offers further insight to the value of organisational learning.

The Library and Knowledge Services that are supporting the Nightingale Hospitals have also recently undertaken an After Action Review. This will allow those involved to use their shared learning when undertaken similar projects in the future and alter their practice should they need to in the event of a second wave.

Health Education England’s Knowledge Management Team have produced a suite of resources to support the organisation to capture their own lessons learnt. Katie Nicholas has created this excellent guide which you can use to explain and promote these services within your own organisation. If you are concerned about how to get different departments interested in your support consider running your own lessons learnt session or retrospective review with your team. Showcase how the reflections you’ve made and learning captured will change your service in a positive way. Organisations like to see outcomes in terms of time and financial savings, so consider that while you are writing up your findings.

Holly Case Wyatt
Library and Knowledge Services Development Manager
Directorate of Innovation and Transformation
M: 07741238740
E: holly.casewyatt@hee.nhs.uk