NHS East of England picks up prestigious award for improving the care of older people in hospital

An NHS East of England initiative to encourage patients to be more active while in hospital and care settings has won a prestigious national award at the annual Health Service Journal Patient Safety Awards.

The Winter (De)-Conditioning Games was rolled out across health and care services across the east of England from October 2021, and has now been commended for its important work by being awarded the ‘Improving Care for Older People Initiative of the Year’ Patient Safety Award.

178 teams local NHS and social care teams got involved and introduced a range of initiatives to encourage older people to maintain their independence and functional wellbeing, enabling them to be discharged quicker and continue their recovery in the comfort of their own home.

Judges at the awards ceremony said the games were a low-cost initiative that had a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of patients, residents and staff.

Geraldine Rodgers, Director of Nursing for Leadership and Quality for NHS East of England, was part of the regional team who set-up the Winter (De)-conditioning Games.

She said: “Patients can deteriorate quickly in a hospital bed so bringingnursing, therapy and medical staff together to introduce initiatives to maintain mobility and cognitive functions seemed like the best way to overcome that.

“I’m so proud of all the teams who took part in making small-scale changes in the delivery of their care. They may be small changes, but they make a huge difference.”

Geraldine, third from right, with the team collecting their award

The risks associated with long stays in hospital are well-documented, and this was only further compounded by the Covid pandemic where infection control meant family visits were limited.

The Winter (De)-conditioning Games has inspired a nationwide campaign to prevent functional decline in winter. The National Reconditioning Games launches on November 1 2022.