Patient’s mental health is transformed after Flo’s help to improve medication adherence
Helen Thompson, Safe Care Lead and Jan Gorman, Health Care Support Worker from the Learning Disabilities Service at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust discusses how intervening with Flo has regained the independence of one of their patients with mild learning difficulties, resulting in their mental health stabilising and removing the need for continuing home visits from their team and the number of Consultant Psychiatrist appointments required.
“Fred” was an individual with mild Learning Disabilities who had also experienced a decline in his mental health. Due to this decline, Fred was on the active caseloads of both his Consultant Psychiatrist and Community Learning Disabilities Nursing Team in South Tyneside.
Emerging from this increased clinical input were concerns regarding Fred’s adherence to his medication regime, the cause of an ongoing decline in his mental health.
Before using Flo, Fred required several home visits from a Health Care Support worker to prompt him with regards to his medication compliance, and at the time the Community Nurse was also visiting him more often than would normally be required.
In conjunction, Fred’s Consultant Psychiatrist was also offering more regular appointments as a result of symptoms of low mood. Despite these additional face-to-face interventions, Fred continued to have fluctuating compliance with his medication regime and associated symptoms due to this non-compliance.
Therefore, the Community Nursing Team felt that Flo would offer Fred an opportunity to receive supportive messages to help guide him towards taking his medication more regularly as prescribed.
The team hoped that Flo would help to reduce the symptoms that Fred was experiencing associated with his non-compliance and would maintain his independence, so he would not need to continue receiving the now regular face-to-face interventions.
Following the introduction to Flo’s unique persona, Fred was signed up to a protocol designed to support him to improve his medication adherence. This involved Fred having three messages from Flo each day at key times, reminding him of the need to take his tablets as prescribed.
With Flo’s helpful reminders, Fred began to change his behaviour to become more complaint with his medication and as a result he started to make good progress, with his compliance improving over a period of several months.
During the time that Flo was helping Fred, Community Nurse and Health Care Support Worker visits were able to be gradually reduced. It wasn’t long before Fred also needed less Consultant Psychiatry appointments, with the improvement in his medication compliance resulting in his mental health becoming more stable.
Now Fred no longer needs Flo to remind him to take his medication – which is a huge success! Flo has gently helped Fred to establish his own regular routine for taking his medication on time.
The impact of this improved medication adherence stabilised Fred’s mental health, resulting in him no longer being an open case to Community Learning Disabilities Nursing or his Health Care Support Worker.
Fred now only has his annual outpatient visit to the Psychiatry team for monitoring purposes and is otherwise independently self-managing without any additional intervention required, delivering long term, sustainable benefits.
For more information please contact Helen.Thompson@stft.nhs.uk
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