- GMMH has significantly improved patient experience and supported mental health system pressures through an innovative programme titled ‘The Perfect Week’.
- ‘The Perfect Week’ is part of a national initiative to improve the quality of care by solving the problems that can delay a patient’s journey from admission to discharge in hospital.
- The underpinning principle of the Perfect Week at GMMH was that every minute of a patient’s life is precious.
- The programme had a remarkable impact, with a 27% increase in discharges across the Trust, and an 83% reduction in out of area placements.
GMMH has significantly improved patient experience and supported mental health system pressures through an innovative programme titled ‘The Perfect Week’.
Across the board, people with mental health needs can often end up staying in hospital longer than necessary. This is due to a variety of reasons, including delays in arranging aftercare, housing and other support. This can have a negative impact on the individual, hampering their independence and delaying their ability to take the next steps of their recovery journey.
Prolonged hospital stays can also lead to less hospital beds being available for those who need them most. This increases reliance on out of area placements (OAPs); where patients are moved to a hospital further away from their home where a bed is available. Moving patients to a hospital further from their home can also be a negative experience, as it places them in an unfamiliar environment, and can lead to reduced contact with vital support networks, such as friends, family and carers.
In response to this, GMMH invested in The Perfect Week programme.
‘The Perfect Week’ is part of a national initiative to improve the quality of care by solving the problems that can delay a patient’s journey from admission to discharge in hospital. It focuses on breaking down barriers, bringing staff and stakeholders together to think outside of the box, and to rapidly implement and test new innovative solutions.
The Trust-wide programme, which ran from June to September 2021, has been successful in safely reducing the length of hospital stays and reducing the reliance on out of area hospital beds. This means patients are able to receive the best care in the most appropriate environment to them, with more beds available to those who need them, closer to home.
The programme has also been successful in developing strong links with the wider health and social care system, working with local authorities and CCG colleagues to ensure a comprehensive and holistic approach to care.
The underpinning principle of the Perfect Week at GMMH was that every minute of a patient’s life is precious.
A series of consecutive week-long ‘Perfect Week’ events were held in adult inpatient areas of each of the Trust’s divisions, across Bolton, Salford, North & Central Manchester, Wigan, and Trafford & South Manchester. The events brought local teams together, alongside partners from across the wider health and social care system, to adapt, innovate and try new ways of working to achieve specific goals. Those goals were:
- Improve patient experience, ensuring that each day adds value
- Improve staff wellbeing and motivation
- Reduce length of stay across all inpatient units and significantly reduce OAPs by the end of September 2021.
North & Central Manchester Team
South Manchester & Trafford Team
New innovations implemented during the events included:
- Planning workshops attended by key senior and clinical staff from across the local service; alongside commissioners, staff from acute hospitals, representatives from adult social care and other local services. Allowing for a comprehensive, multi-agency approach to improving care.
- A fast-track approach to escalating and resolving any patient issues or additional needs.
- Identifying a lead within the service, who would champion and manage the fast-track process.
- Adopting the ‘lean approach’, which focuses on working flexibly to reduce waste of time or resources by ensuring patients receive the right support at the right time, first time.
The programme had a remarkable impact, with a 27% increase in discharges across the Trust, and an 83% reduction in OAPs.
This demonstrates significant support to mental health system pressures, whilst improving all-round patient experience.
One service user said: “It has been a great experience on the ward.” And a carer said: “I am so thankful for staff taking the time to update me before and after the ward round. It really means a lot.”
Following the conclusion of the final perfect week in September 2021, a ‘Change Package’ has been developed, incorporating key themes, learnings and ways of working from the Perfect Week programme, which will be introduced to services across the Trust. All best practice identified will also be incorporated into admission, treatment and discharge standards for implementation across the Trust, to ensure the improvements continue to be seen.
GMMH are now looking to adapt the Perfect Week model and implement across other specialities within the Trust, with planning already under way for later life services.
Strong links with the wider health and social care system, to ensure a well-rounded and holistic approach to care going forward, will remain.
Deborah Partington, Director of Operations at GMMH said:
“The Perfect Week programme highlighted that every minute of a patient’s journey from admission should add value towards a safe and timely discharge, so they can continue to grow and recover. It reinforced the importance of understanding the barriers and focusing on finding the best solutions to facilitate this. It demonstrated how bringing people together and engaging with the wider system can achieve great things.
“At a time of increased demand for mental health services nationally, we are delighted to have supported system pressures by offering safe and effective alternatives in the most appropriate and least restrictive community environments; whilst ensuring that vital inpatient mental health support is always there for all who need it.
”We now embark on a new journey to take what we have learned to make permanent improvements to patient care across the Trust. The commitment of staff to our patients is amazing to see and as an organisation we are in a great position to make sustained and lasting change.”