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'Always Events' Health Foundation Award


22-August-2018

After a highly competitive funding application process, NES was recently awarded a further 30K by The Health Foundation to continue its innovative educational development work on implementing the ‘Always Events’ (AE) concept with healthcare teams in Scotland and beyond. 

The ‘Always Event’ (AE) concept was devised by the now defunct Picker Institute in the US and offers a person-centred approach to Quality Improvement (QI) that aims to optimise different aspects of the patient’s experience of their healthcare, and which can potentially be used routinely within many diverse care settings. 

A simple example might be that a patient “always wants to know what happens next” after a clinical consultation. In other words, AEs are those actions and behaviours of healthcare organisations, teams, professionals and staff that create a satisfactory experience for patients. While routine national surveys of patients to determine their satisfaction or experiences of care are useful, they are also limited in terms of driving service improvements mainly because healthcare organisations and teams often struggle to make sense of, and act on, this important feedback in their local contexts. 

The ‘Always Events’ approach attempts to ‘close this gap’ by giving care teams a framework to engage locally with specific patient and client groups to ascertain what is important to them in terms of care delivery – and then link this to a quality improvement process (Figure 1). This contrasts with most QI ideas and activity where it is normally the care team prioritising what they think is important to patients. 

Building on work previously funded by the Health Foundation where NES tested the AE concept with 18 diverse care teams across NHS Scotland, the newly-acquired funding will now be used to build consensus on the implementation of this novel method across NHS Scotland and the UK home countries.

In turn, this will inform the design and spread the use of educational materials on AE as a person-centred approach to quality improvement in training programmes and as part of routine service delivery. 

Further information on the NES ‘Always Events’ educational development work can be accessed here:

https://learn.nes.nhs.scot/932/patient-safety-zone/patient-safetytools-and-techniques/always-events

Figure 1