Strange times during the pandemic

We are indeed in times no-one could have predicted. March was probably the most stressful time of our working lives as we tried to come to terms with a new and rapidly evolving environment both within Accelerate and our personal lives.

We had to work hard to make sense of what we needed to do, especially when guidance was absent or confusing.

I am so incredibly proud of what we achieved both in the new systems we put in place and also in how we supported and worked together, even when each day felt like the rug had been pulled again. Strange and crazy times.

Remote working and virtual appointments

The speed at which we have enabled this has been incredible. Frankly if were still in our old location with our old IT functions then this could not have been done. Moving to St Joseph’s with investment in a new IT infrastructure was amazingly timely. The ability to do this well and still feel connected has taken us by surprise. And of course this brings new opportunities for the future.

Self-management support

Our community has adapted incredibly well, self-managing where we would not have given people the credit. I think this has also surprised our patients who may have baulked at this before. We are a very hands on service, so this has forced us through the eye of a needle!

But with an online record system, new in-depth phone consultations, facilities for patients to communicate well, send in their photos and measurements securely. All this makes a big difference and increases the opportunity for this to work.

We have even taken the plunge to employ a colleague in these uncertain times to bring a focus on self-management and how to have better conversations. We know this will be the new normal and we want to get ahead. Watch out for our new focus on our website soon.

Supporting our members through such upheaval

An area that has really helped is ensuring that our team had PPE early, and this turned out to be much earlier than our community colleagues.

Our independence seems to have helped as we scoured sites with our credit card. But strangely we have been able to order PPE for community and primary care colleagues across local boroughs at over 100 locations. It is a mystery as to why we have access and others don’t! But we are on a mission to support our partners through whatever means we can.

Increasing our outreach

Our Centre is obviously seeing fewer patients and this has enabled us to redirect our efforts to delivering home care across the key boroughs which we serve. This has been insightful and also supportive of our partners. We have found that this lockdown has enabled us to really focus on our mission, our service to our community and frankly do what we are here to do.

A key focus has once again been how to help community nursing deliver better and provide more therapeutic compression. We have developed some short videos on our favourite theme. So with specialists across the country delivering direct care, some patients will actually be better served during this COVID-19 time. Makes you think?

But of course the challenges are real and continue. We have to reimagine how we deliver the education, research programme and care delivery in the longer term. But what we know is that this COVID-19 time has increased our creativity and ability to adapt fast. So despite these very strange times, this can only be good for the future of Accelerate and the communities we serve.