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Faced with increasing demand for district nursing services and also issues around recruitment and retention of nurses in the district nursing service, Guy’s St Thomas’s Hospital Trust worked with Buurtzorg Britain and Ireland to test a new method of community nursing based on the Dutch model.

Between October 2016 and June 2017, Guy’s and St Thomas’ began testing its own version of the model with a team of six community nurses in North Brixton. They also set up a second test in August 2017 with seven community nurses based at Southwark’s Aylesbury Health Centre. The trust’s version is slightly different to the Dutch model, which is based on a team of 12 district nurses who are usually part-time.

The “neighbourhood care” provided by community nurses in the trial included both nursing and social care – such as giving medicine, dressing wounds, washing, dressing, meal preparation and shopping. Time spent on these activities is likely to reduce as patients become independent and take control of their care. A ‘neighbourhood’ was selected where everything was in walking distance of a central office base.
Patients benefited from a greater continuity of care and a holistic approach based on wider health promotion and advice.
The pilot was subject to evaluation by Kingston University and St George’s, University of London. The final research found patients and carers were positive about the new model.

Results demonstrated that patients were more likely to know the staff, receive improved support for multiple long terms conditions. There were also advantages for patients in terms of being signposted to other services within the community.

Nurses reported that they were able to provide better care and the new model improved their job satisfaction due to better team working. It contrasted with the existing district nurse team, in which “each staff member had their list of patients for the shift and the responsibility was theirs alone”.

The trust has continued using the two teams working under the new model, while also considering how different versions can be rolled out to other teams…

Read the full evaluation report here