Tag Archives: Covid-19

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

Health literacy – What’s the story?

There has been a lot of talk about health literacy in the health library and knowledge community over the last couple of years.  Health Education England worked with partners to deliver awareness and train the trainer sessions across England.  Although we were not surprised at the positive response from our colleagues to this programme, we have been heartened and encouraged by the engagement within the health community and beyond.

One of the best ways to illustrate the impact of low health literacy is to share personal stories.  Participants in the training programme generously gave examples of their own issues with health literacy.  Inspired by this, we thought now might be a good time to share some stories from library and knowledge services on their own experiences of delivering health literacy awareness training and the impact this has had both on them personally and on their services.  Here are just a couple of examples of what’s been happening:

 

Sylvia Hughes, Senior Library Assistant, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

“Last year I helped to deliver health literacy awareness training to library staff from across the North of England.  As I read the feedback from participants, one or two comments reflected the same things that I had been thinking myself when I first heard the suggestion that NHS Libraries were well placed to support the provision of health information to the public and patient: how exactly, could I, as an NHS library assistant, do that?  How could the Library have any impact on information for patients within my Trust, for example, to front-line staff dealing with patient enquiries in the out-patient clinic or the consultant responding to a patient question in the consultation room?

I first got involved in information for patients and the public in 2015.  Our Library and Knowledge Service was looking for ways to supporting patients and carers and I was considering which topic to choose for my MSc dissertation.  The more I began to read about health inequalities, and how poor health literacy can impact negatively on everyone’s health, I began to think what an opportunity this could be for library staff to contribute to supporting the patient AND professional.  Having looked for opportunities to get involved with health literacy and supporting patient information, working with senior nurses and patient information staff, our Library produced and distributed a simple ‘Patients’ guide to health information’ which can now be found in patient areas.  I have now joined our Trust patient information panel, regularly reviewing patient information leaflets, and am hoping to feed awareness of health literacy into our own patient information protocol.  I completed my dissertation (and my MSc!) entitled ‘The informed patient and role of the Library’ in 2018.

Working alongside fellow library staff, we plan to run further health literacy awareness training in our Trusts as a means raise awareness and support staff further in producing patient health information.  But even just noticing and helping the ‘lost’ patient navigating their way around endless hospital corridors via numerous hospital signs (which may not be really helping the patient find their way around) plays a part.  We can also raise awareness of the need to produce information from the patient’s point of view.  We sometimes take our own knowledge and skills for granted when sharing information in our own Libraries (for instance, using the unhelpful term ‘health literacy!’).

I think that we are very well placed to meet the challenge to contribute, to support and help to fill that health information knowledge gap. We are experts in finding, appraising, and delivering information for our readers.  With a little bit of self-reflection, we are also able to imagine the emotion we all feel when faced with an overwhelming whole ‘universe’ of health information, or as one patient told me ‘gobbledygook!’

 

Rachel Steele, Librarian, Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

“I very much enjoyed delivering health literacy training to a group of library and information services staff members in January 2020 and I hope to deliver more training in the future.  I had participated in previous ‘train the trainer’ sessions organised by the Community Health and Learning Foundation and Health Education England.  These sessions were absolutely invaluable in imparting the knowledge and skills I required to act as a trainer in this area.  The framework conceptualised health literacy as a two-sided coin – the personal and the societal.  Myself and my co-trainers used this framework in our training and it seemed to work well.

Exercises were a key part of the training I delivered.  We asked participants to undertake exercises to practise the techniques of ‘teach back’ and ‘chunk and check’ and we also used exercises originally devised by the Community Health and Learning Foundation designed to give participants an appreciation of how it feels to have low health literacy and not to understand information which is being imparted.  I won’t say too much as to the nature of the exercise (as this may ‘spoil’ the element of surprise in subsequent training!) but acting as trainer in this exercise made me feel as though I was being unkind to participants which made me feel a bit uncomfortable.  It is, however, important that people do gain an appreciation of what it is like to live with low health literacy to fully understand the themes raised and we tried to deal with participants feelings in the ‘de-brief’ following the exercise.  By having a de-brief, they were able to understand why the trainers had behaved as they did and that no malign motives were intended on our part!

I intend to deliver health literacy training in conjunction with others in my Trust to groups in future, in particular to junior doctors as part of regular slots on postgraduate medical education programmes.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems increasingly likely that future training will be delivered using virtual training approaches.  I believe these can work well, especially if software is used to share trainers’ screens so that exercises can be displayed for participants to work on.

I would very much encourage others to participate in health literacy training themselves and look for opportunities to deliver health literacy training in their Trusts.  Health literacy is a very important issue (particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic) and it is therefore vital to raise awareness of it in our various local contexts.”

 

Now more than ever, health literacy is vitally important and impacts both on the individual and on the whole of society.  If these stories have inspired you to get involved and you would like some more information, training or advice, contact Ruth, Sue, Holly, Catherine or Joanne or email KFH.england@hee.nhs.uk

Joanne Naughton
HEE LKS Development Manager