A series of videos developed by a student in St Helens promise to save the NHS money and reduce the amount of time patients stay in hospital.
Felicity Litchfield, who has just completed the University Of Salford’s trauma and orthopaedic MSc programme while working as a physiotherapist for St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, came up with the idea as part of her coursework.
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But she has now been awarded £730 to develop it further.
She created a short online video for patients who were due to come into hospital for keyhole knee surgery, providing information about what the procedure involves and how they should prepare for the surgery.
It also provides advice about how they are expected to recover afterwards, what kind of exercises they should do and how to look out for signs and symptoms for complications such as infection.
The video is aimed at replacing traditional information booklets that patients can find confusing, misplace and sometimes do not receive until just before their surgery.
It is also intended to make sure patients are better prepared and less anxious before coming into hospital, avoiding unnecessary overnight stays and repeat visits to outpatients physiotherapy.
Felicity has now been given £730 through the Santander Universities Make The Difference Award, which helps to fund students who have an idea to make a difference in their community.
She will use the money to create another professionally produced video which will be made available to a wider group of patients due to come into the hospitals for procedures such as total knee replacement operations.
And she says, if successful, the idea can be used for other patients due to attend hospital for a range of procedures.
Felicity said: “We need to get far better at educating patients and this should be done using modern technology rather than outdated information booklets which can be of poor quality, expensive to repeatedly reproduce, easily mislaid and can be so confusing that patients just don’t look at them.
“More than 90 per cent of people in the UK now have access to the internet, so online videos which are clear and easy to understand are definitely the way forward. This will lead to patients feeling less anxious and better prepared before going in for their operations, mean they don’t stay in hospital longer than they need to – something nobody wants to do – and ultimately save the NHS money.”
Sue Buttress, associate dean of the University of Salford’s School of Health Sciences, said: “We’re incredibly proud of the initiative that Felicity has displayed and the passion she clearly has for improving the patient experience.”