The Space Co-Lab person-centred care model is supported by their Clinical Nurse Specialist, Stephen Pearson, who manages the volunteers on the Patient and Family Team. One of his principle duties is triaging all patients for psychological risk factors when they come into the ICU. The clinical side of triage is relatively simple and well understood, but Stephen also identifies social or personal complexities that ought to be considered, assessing whether patients have young dependents, are homeless, are dealing with safeguarding issues, have learning difficulties, and much more.
The purpose of the triage is to identify patients likely to need extra support and liaise with other NHS teams to acquire it at the earliest stages of the clinical journey. The NHS has the resources and personnel to meet these needs, but if we don’t connect specific patients to specific teams, that help might not be accessed, especially when working under pressure and tacking complex clinical needs. For example, the Homelessness Team help with discharge planning and trying to get homeless patients to a place of safety when they leave the hospital. By identifying that a patient is homeless in their initial triage, we can quickly reach out to the Homelessness Team and get them the support they need.
The NHS’s plethora of systems for accessing key resources can be challenging to navigate, especially if a triage nurse has only just started working in ICU. Stephen is a seasoned clinical professional and understands how to utilise the systems and protocols in place to deliver swift and appropriate help to individuals in our care. His focus is on early anticipation of problems in order to achieve the best clinical and person-centred outcomes for each ICU patient. As the Space Co-Lab project continues to grow, we are hoping to add another experienced Clinical Nurse Specialist to the team.