Walking with Purpose

Sophia Keene

Background to the Project

The COVID 19 pandemic has seen a transmission of the biggest nosocomial infection on our wards within the NHS. There are possible high rates of transmission recorded amongst patients who walk with purpose who often have a cognitive impairment, delirium or dementia.

Human behaviour is a product of biological, psychological, economic, environmental and social influences. To modify behaviours those determinants need first to be understood and then “treated” with relevant behaviour change techniques. The application of behavioural model, the COM – B process, provided an opportunity to understand the behaviours within the ward setting. Engaging with our workforce by holding clinical conversations across the health board provided an opportunity to understand the behaviours, challenges and learning to reduce the transmission of infection.

The Project

The Walking with Purpose sub-group facilitated immersion events with staff and patient/carer members across four different areas of the health board – East, West, Central and Mental Health and Learning Disability. The focus of events spanned four themes across the four areas; creating a safe environment, appropriate placing of patients in the ward, pathway and MDT intervention and ability to escalate.

This program of work encourages a discussion on why walking with purpose is meaningful for identified patients, and how risk can be mitigated and managed in the clinical setting to achieve therapeutic outcomes alongside safe clean care.

Anticipated Benefits

The desired outcome is the production of clinical guidance for staff, which will be based on education and enhanced communication strategies, leading to improvements in the knowledge and skills to support patients that are walking with purpose. This will become a standardised approach across the operational areas within the health board.

This will benefit the staff, patients and public due to feeling safer in hospital with a reduced rate of infection and needs being met more appropriately. It will give clear direction, empowering staff to safely act and mobilise our wider MDT to target and support the priorities of safe care and escalation with a leadership response to maintain patient safety.