Tag Archives: Health Information

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

One year on, a global pandemic highlights the importance of evidence-based patient information.”

A year on after writing our project report on ‘making the case for evidence-based patient information’  the importance of evidence-based information has never been more vital. Health hasn’t been just the primary concern for health and care professionals or those individuals with health conditions, it has been the predominant topic for everybody globally.

The coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) has created, what has felt like, a new industry of information for us all to consume, digest and understand in order for us to go about our daily lives. From following the current guidance to implementing changes to our libraries so we can re-open safely. We also have a role in supporting others in providing accurate and updated information on various aspects of Covid-19 too, to help give trustworthy information to inform their own health decisions and even simple day to day actions such as travel and socialising

The findings of our project report remain as relevant now as they did when we published it;

[1] Evidence-based health information makes a positive contribution to the health care system. The last few months has been a time of uncertainty, creating a sense of fear and anxiety for many of us. It has been challenging to keep track of the various channels of communication to identify authoritative information as well as shining a light on ‘fake news’ about Covid-19. When headlines citing ways of avoiding getting Covid-19 ‘through eating garlic’ or the assumption ‘only older people are susceptible’ to this infection, it provides for a confusing and potentially dangerous information landscape. Engaging our critical appraisal skills can help give others the reassurance needed to locate the most appropriate information or evidence they can understand and feel confident in its accuracy.

[2] The need for evidence-based health information is aligned with a number of high-level strategic priorities which support shared decision-making. The Health information Week web site for 2020’s campaign listed some useful questions to consider when looking at health information, including a number of resources that can be downloaded and adapted for local use. The new NHS LKS web pages  signposting members of the public to health information as well as included information and resources about Coronavirus which are easy to understand and accessible online for patients and the public alike.

[3] Library and Knowledge Services have a key role to play in influencing how health information is produced and delivered within local trusts. Since writing our report there has been a new UK-wide quality standard developed by the Patient Information Forum, TICK which can help us guide others in what they must do in order to provide robust and accurate patient information, one of the components being that it must be evidence based, to further make the case for this and highlight the contribution we can make.

[4] Sharing learning and experience across our networks – throughout the last few months NHS Library and Knowledge Services have demonstrated the benefits of sharing resources on Covid-19. Literature searches and lists of resources have been made widely available by local services so others can tap into more tailored and topics-specific information to support health and care professionals manage the tsunami of Covid-19 related information.

It would be good to hear examples of where NHS LKS have supported patients either directly or through those providing information to patients virtually during the pandemic.

How do we capture new learning and break down some of physical barriers highlighted in our report?

Emily Hopkins, Health Education England
Deena Maggs, The King’s Fund​
Victoria Treadway, NHS RightCare​
Vicki Veness, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust​
Jacqui Watkeys, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
Suzanne Wilson, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust​

Looking for inspiration for Health Information Week 2020 (#HIW2020)?

Health Information Week is a national, multi-sector campaign to promote high quality information for patients and the public. High quality health information can have a huge impact on people’s ability to stay healthy and manage illnesses effectively, giving them a better quality of life. This year, #HIW2020 runs from Monday 6th to Sunday 12th July.

Are you interested in being involved in #HIW2020 but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’ve been involved for a number of years and you’re looking for something different to do this year? Perhaps you don’t feel you have the resources to do much? Alternatively maybe you’d like to do make #HIW2020 a really significant part of your outreach work this year? The good news is that you can spend as much or as little time as you have on #HIW2020, from running a week long programme of events to simply retweeting posts from @HealthInfoWeek.

The Ideas Bank is a great place to start. It includes all the ideas from previous years, and we’ve recently updated it to include new ideas from #HIW2019 activities run by different teams from across the country. Maybe a walkabout to key teams would be more effective than a display? Maybe you can ask a health professional to present at a public library or other public venue?

The Ideas Bank includes:

  • Tips for making contact with teams in your local area who may be interested in working with you, both inside and outside your organisation
  • Ideas for teams with limited time and resources
  • Fun ideas to draw a crowd
  • And more!

And if you have other ideas, please let us know – other people may find them really useful too. Email us on Healthinfoweek@gmail.com or Tweet us on @HealthInfoWeek

Your organisation’s Covid-19 response may affect the planning you can do at this stage. Dependent on how things develop, it may also affect what is possible during #HIW2020 itself. Follow national guidance, and also your local guidance. Some of the things in the Ideas Bank would not be appropriate during current precautions – they are included in hope that by Monday 6th July, they will once again be safe. Other things, such as social media use, can continue as usual during Covid-19.

Lindsay Snell on behalf of the HIW team