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Innovative care for older people project celebrates success

6th April 2023

Northumbria University researchers are celebrating a key milestone in the development and delivery of an innovative new programme designed to improve care for older people.

Northumbria University developed the Enhanced Care for Older People (EnCOP) programme in partnership with the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) Ageing Well Network, to understand the workforce development needs and challenges associated with caring for older people.

The project provides education, resources, networking opportunities, career development and research centred on high-quality, evidence-based care. It was designed for those working with older people in health and social care settings – from community case managers, care workers and speech and language therapists, to social workers, physiotherapists, nurses, doctors, paramedics, social prescribers and pharmacists. 

The first cohort of 50 health and social care professionals to undertake the new programme have now graduated and in recognition of the success of the programme to date, it was also named as a finalist in the Innovation in Clinical Education category at the Bright Ideas in Health Awards.

Dr Claire Pryor, Assistant Professor of Adult Nursing from the University’s Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, said: “It’s an important milestone to see our first cohort graduate from the programme and to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award. It was a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate the success of the project and the hard work of both those involved in developing the programme, and those who have now successfully completed it.

“As we are seeing more people than ever before living longer, the need to develop and implement systems which support health and social care professionals to provide the best possible care for older people has never been more important.

“While older people are the biggest consumers of care, they are also the group most likely to have unmet needs. But we are helping to provide a solution by defining and providing guidance and best practice around what the workforce needs to be able to better support and care for them.”

Lesley Bainbridge, Clinical Lead, NENC ICB on behalf of the NENC Ageing Well Network, added: “We’re delighted to have made so much progress with the EnCOP project and to have been recognised for our work, but there is still more to be done.

“Regionally and nationally, there are multiple organisations keen to become involved. Our ambition is to grow the scale of our collaborative work in order to improve the health and wellbeing of our ageing population, whilst exploring the significant opportunities for change, workforce development and research.”

Sue Tiplady, Assistant Professor of Adult Nursing at Northumbria University, commented, “EnCOP is a great way to raise and celebrate the value and profile of working with older people. For too long older people care has been seen as a less attractive option for people to work in, with little recognition of the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that staff require to care for the diversity and complexity of older people. It’s time for staff to be proud and celebrate that they work with older people.”

Northumbria University, named Times Higher Education (THE) University of the Year 2022, recently announced ambitious plans to develop its Centre for Health and Social Equity, bringing together academics working on health, social care, education, wellbeing and equity issues onto one central base in the heart of Newcastle, on the University’s City Campus.

The Bright Ideas In Health Awards were organised by The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) to celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams working within the NHS, industry and academia, who have risen to the challenge of highlighting how, and where, they believe that the services provided to patients can be improved, either through a technical innovation or through better service delivery.

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