A psychological therapist and a speech and language therapist are among the winners of this year’s iCare Innovation Awards. The newly launched awards, organised by Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, select and celebrate the work of individuals who are dedicated to innovation.

A selection panel had the difficult task of choosing the five award winners from projects across the Trust. Winner of the awards received £2000 to further develop projects to enhance patient care.

Chris NorthChris North, a clinical dementia lead for the Older Peoples Mental Health Service was amongst the winners. Chris was selected for his idea to create virtual tour videos, to guide patients ahead of attending memory clinics, on how to get to hospital and navigate around the buildings. The videos have had a positive impact on patients, removing some of the anxiety of finding where to go, ahead of a dementia assessment.

Jo FranklandJo Frankland, a senior psychological therapist, in the Bradford Intensive Home Treatment team, stood out with judges for her work with patients to access an online mental health support group to increase coping strategies. Many people experiencing mental health difficulties do not have access to digital technology. With the award funds Jo has been able to purchase five laptops that can be loaned out to people to access the support group. Group participants have credited the online support with making a real difference to their mental health.

Kehksha AzamKehksha Azam, an assistant psychologist in Adult Mental Health Services was selected for her idea to recruit peer support workers and provide them with specialist training to run peer support groups for patients on mental health wards. Having peer supporters in the team has meant that patients on wards can speak to someone who has also been through something similar. The funds were used to fund the pilot project for three months and has empowered both patients and peer support workers.

Orlaith SimonsOrlaith Simons, a speech and language therapist in the Paediatric team was amongst the winners in this year’s awards.  Orlaith stood out for her idea to use technology to increase student placement participation.  Students regularly come on placements with the team, however due to COVID-19 restrictions it was difficult to fit all students on site. Orlaith used Microsoft hollow lens technology to create a virtual reality placement for students.  The mixed reality smart-glasses have enabled the Speech and Language team to share meetings with viewers, whilst wearing the headset. Students are now able to be virtually present in a meeting room, alongside augmented reality, such as a 3D model or image. The technology has led to an increase in the number of students on placement.

Rachel JonesRachel Jones, a therapeutic volunteer coordinator supports volunteers at Lynfield Mount Hospital who lead therapeutic activities with patients.  Rachel came up with the idea to develop life skills resources for volunteers to use to support patients at the hospital. The project has focused on creating a pack of life skills cards. The tool can be used to form part of a conversation with patients and clinicians or patients with life skills volunteers.  The patient is encouraged to sort the cards into categories, on what they feel confident in doing, enabling them to reflect on what they are good at.  Early feedback has been positive, allowing patients to set goals to help them thrive in the community after discharge from hospital.

Farhan Rafiq, Head of Business and Service Development and programme lead for iCare said: “We want to help nurture and develop innovation at the Care Trust and the Innovation Awards are the perfect opportunity to do this and also celebrate the work of our wonderful colleagues, who work so hard to innovate, sharing best practice to enhance patient care.”

Therese Patten, Chief Executive said: “We are pleased to support projects that can make a positive change at our Trust and the wider healthcare sector and are delighted to recognise and celebrate these fantastic individuals, who are dedicated to innovation and making a difference to people’s lives every day.”

View videos of the award winners here: Chris North, Clinical Dementia Lead; Jo Frankland, Senior Psychological Therapist; Kehksha Azam, Assistant Psychologist; Orlaith Simons, Speech and Language Therapist and Rachel Jones, Therapeutic Volunteer Coordinator.