Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is a community-focused organisation that provides physical and mental health and social care with the aim of improving the health and well being of patients and their families.
The Trust works in partnership with other organisations: with the University of Oxford to promote innovation in healthcare and to train doctors and psychologists; with Oxford Brookes University and the University of Bedfordshire and Thames Valley to train nurses and allied health professionals; with local authorities and voluntary organisations to provide joined up care and with GPs.
In recent years the Trust has recognised the benefits of caring for patients in their own homes. Looking after patients in this way builds their independence, minimises disruption for their families, and ultimately results in quicker recovery times.
The drawback with this initiative is that not enough nursing staff are sufficiently skilled yet to provide care for acute patients in the home. Without direct access to the medical equipment they take for granted in a hospital, the nurses need to use other methods for spotting early warning signs so that they can intervene as early as possible should a patient's condition deteriorate.
The question is, what is the best way to train hospital-based staff to work with limited resources in a home environment?
Oxford Health established the Skills Lab initiative, designed to solve this very problem. Sara from Oxford Health describes how this works: “When you walk into the Skills Lab you can see that one half is laid out like a classroom. There is a SMART Board Interactive Whiteboard on the wall, with desks and chairs laid out”.
To complement the SMART board, Oxford Health also uses interactive presentations powered by Ombea Response. By asking respondents to vote on questions, they increase engagement rates, and make it so that each session is as efficient as possible.
All these elements combine to provide a learning environment where staff immediately apply the theory learned in the right context.