People from Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven are benefitting from innovative projects that have been funded through Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s iCare innovation development programme, created by staff to enhance patient care.

The iCare programme aims to help staff make innovative ideas, with growth prospects, happen and support them to create value and impact in Trust services and beyond.  A panel of judges selected the winners from projects across the Care Trust. Winners of the awards received funding to further develop their ideas over a twelve-month period.

Farhan Rafiq, iCare Programme Lead, said: “This programme and funding is an amazing opportunity for staff to test out new ideas to enhance patient care.  It has been a real pleasure to see the outcomes of their hard work and the impact they have made in our Trust. We are very proud of all the staff who were involved.”

Charlotte Hunter-Didrichsen, Assistant Psychologist at the Trust and Amy Jones, SEND coordinator were amongst the winners. They were selected for their idea to create Neurodevelopmental team webpages on the Trust’s website. The webpages aim to improve the support offered to young people and their families before an Autism or ADHD assessment. Content on the site was developed to address some of the common difficulties and challenges that families face, alongside a range of advice, self-help resources and a video from a young person sharing their experience of the assessment process. The webpages have had a positive impact on patients and families, removing some of the anxiety of preparing for an Autism or ADHD assessment.

Beth Chesworth, Occupational Therapist, used the funding to enhance the hospital experience for patients at Airedale Centre for Mental Health. Beth created a sensory and edible garden to develop and deliver a therapeutic horticultural programme.  Nature-based activities are known to provide stress relief and relaxation for people, as well as improve physical health and functioning.  An aim of the therapeutic horticultural programme is to engage patients of different ages, interests and abilities with nature-based activities to meet a therapeutic goal.

Beth Chesworth, Occupational Therapist said: “The edible garden is packed with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Patients can take the time to grow these to support their mental health and wellbeing, benefitting from being in nature and taking pride in cultivating their own plants. Patients and staff have credited the horticultural groups to improve mood and inspire others to engage in more nature-based activities in the future.”

Samantha Kumbula, Assistant Psychologist, was selected for her idea to utilise sensory toys as a therapeutic intervention for young people presenting in crisis. Sensory toys work by allowing young people to manage anxiety and emotions by redirecting their physical and emotional energy into an object during stressful and challenging situations. Since the approach was introduced, young people have credited the sensory toys with helping them manage and regulate their emotions by providing a positive distraction, calming effect, and increasing feelings of wellbeing.

Rachel Archer, Lead Occupational Therapist was also supported to develop staff training videos on the usage of hospital beds in community settings. These videos provide an accessible visual reference point to assist registered clinicians in the selection of beds and bed rails.  They have been shared with professionals in the Trust and their usage and impact will be evaluated to guide next steps.

Therese Patten, Chief Executive of the Care Trust, said: “As a Trust we are delighted to have the chance to enhance our care, as much as possible, throughout this programme. 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.”

The new winners of the 2023/24 iCare Innovation Development Programme were announced live at an innovation showcase event on 9 October.  These projects will receive iCare supervision, navigation and funding over the next year.