On 26th April we launched our latest self-management tool for patients and families titled ‘Bridges to Recovery After Trauma’ with healthcare staff at St George’s Major Trauma Centre, London. The book has been two years in the making with a wonderful group of eleven people who have experienced multiple injuries after a major trauma, and their family and friends. The book authors have generously shared their recovery stories, personal photographs and top tips for finding ways through the challenges of life after a major trauma.
At the two-hour launch sessions staff learned how the book can be integrated into their daily clinical work with patients and families, to enhance self-management support early after a major trauma. Evi, one of the book authors, joined me to co-facilitate the launch sessions and captivated staff by recalling her personal experiences of recovery.
A memorable insight was how being discharged home from hospital can be perceived as a celebratory event by hospital staff, yet for patients and their families it is often experienced with fear and anxiety. Evi recalled how she didn’t want to let staff down by showing her fears and consequently, she struggled physically and emotionally at home. Staff asked Evi how they could better prepare people for discharge home and together they created plans about when and how to ask about fears.
Evi also shared the importance of recording and sharing the ‘mini victories’ during her recovery. For example, she recorded when she first touched her toes and the first time that her hair was washed. These small things made her feel better about herself and recording them boosted her confidence. This aligns with ways to increase self-efficacy, a central theoretical concept in self-management support; supporting an individual to feel more confident and in control of an otherwise overwhelming and uncertain situation.
Evi’s presence at the launch sessions enabled staff to experience the benefits of coproducing products and services with their users. During the development of the book, I learned from the book authors that self-management support early after a major trauma should provide hope, a feeling of not being so alone and the confidence to manage daily life when they leave hospital. The book can support these, but the impact is greatly enhanced when the interactions between staff, patients and families support this shared purpose.
Other ideas about the usefulness of the books for staff included helping them to answer questions from patients and families about recovery, returning to work and other life roles. Healthcare staff are motivated to provide the best care possible and utilising the books as part of routine interactions can help them to do that.
Whilst the launch events felt like a mini victory for us at Bridges and the book authors, we still have a way to go. We will be evaluating the impact of the books throughout May and June through short questionnaires for patients and families. We will also capture staff and patient stories on video. Through engaging with staff, patients and families we will continue to learn about the best ways to provide self-management support early after major trauma.
If you would like to know more about our new multidisciplinary training and improvement programme for major trauma staff please click here.
The book was made possible through funding from St. George’s Hospital Charity and Giving to St. George’s major Trauma Fund. We would like to thank Leila Razavi (Assistant General Manager) and Paul Marshall-Taylor (Principal Occupational-Therapist) of St. George’s Hospital Major Trauma Centre for their continued support. We are indebted to the book authors who have gifted to us their experiences, top tips and insights: David and Barbara, Chris, Evi, Frankie and Carol, Grace and Gloria, Mark, Dan. Henry and Bonny-Lea, George and Dana, Millie and Nick, Minal, Ricky and Ellie, Trevor and Vivian.
Director of Innovation and Training