Long-standing accredited training partner receives personalised care research grant

By Dr Kevin Barrett, clinical lead for accreditation at the Personalised Care Institute 

Recently, one of our first training providers to receive PCI course accreditation, Bridges Self-Management, was announced as being the main research partner for a post-Covid syndrome* project which is to receive a £1.1m grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). 

The LISTEN project, submitted for consideration by St George’s University of London and Kingston University, was one of just 15 nationwide projects to receive funding from the NIHR’s call-out for research into diagnosing and treating post-Covid Syndrome; with Bridges Self-Management partnering to undertake the research. This is of particular note because this funding has been allocated to specifically facilitate personalised care research; paving the way for yet more progress in ensuring patients are placed at the very centre of their care.

We’d like to extend our congratulations to the whole Bridges team, who plan to use the grant to build upon the training methodology adopted by its self-management programme to enable healthcare professionals to deliver personalised self-management support. Titled the LISTEN project, the research will focus on training multidisciplinary healthcare professionals to help deliver the support that best helps patients with complex long-term conditions to live well, specifically looking at post-Covid syndrome. 

The project is led by Professor of Rehabilitation Research Fiona Jones, St George’s University of London and Kingston University, and Professor Monica Busse, Director of Mind, Brain and Neuroscience Trials at Cardiff University.

Aside from this important project, Bridges has a module, accredited by us, which uses a 5-step approach to sustainable system change to embed personalised self-management support in everyday care and rehabilitation. It’s a model underpinned by the principles of social cognitive theory and the concept of self-efficacy. The organisation is a social enterprise and exists to make a difference to lives of people with acute and long-term conditions. 

Professor Fiona Jones, also founder and CEO at Bridges, told us what it means to the organisation to be able to undertake this important research thanks to the grant from NIHR. “Individuals with post-Covid syndrome experience a wide variety of ongoing problems such as tiredness and difficulty with everyday tasks and means they can struggle to return to their former lives,” shares Fiona. “This is then made worse by uncertainty and a lack of understanding by some healthcare professionals. The LISTEN project aims to work in partnership with individuals living with post-Covid syndrome to design and evaluate a package of self-management support, personalised to their needs.”

The project will take 24 months. In the first six months, people living with or recovered from post-Covid syndrome and rehabilitation practitioners will be recruited to a ‘LISTEN Co-design’ group, helped by ‘Diversity and Ability’ who have expertise in reaching seldom heard populations. They will use different activities such as online groups to design the intervention which will include a book, digital resources, and a new training package for rehabilitation practitioners.

The team will test the self-management package alongside virtual coaching sessions from trained rehabilitation practitioners, to test whether the treatment improves how people with post-Covid syndrome feel and how they cope with everyday activities. The researchers will also evaluate how the package could be implemented more widely, with the aim that self-management for people with long Covid can be delivered at scale.

Bridges was one of six providers to help us pilot our accreditation process

The Bridges self-management course available via the PCI, was the one of the first that we accredited and it allows learners to take on the essential principles of self-management, while also working towards their CPD portfolio. Bridges was one of six providers that helped us to pilot the accreditation process ahead of the launch of the PCI in September 2020 and we’re delighted their knowledge and passion in this space is helping to move the personalised care agenda forward. 

The research they are now able to undertake alongside esteemed partners, is an incredibly important initiative for the future of personalised care training and delivery across complex healthcare settings.  We very much look forward to working with the whole team as they undertake this important research for healthcare professionals and their patients with long Covid. 

Overall, we now have 29 accredited courses on the PCI e-learning hub for learners to access as part of the NHS Long-Term plan to train 75,000 healthcare professionals by 2024.  

The accreditation team and I work with and support training providers to ensure that their training is delivered and implemented to the very highest of standards and aligns with the PCI’s robust curriculum for personalised care. I’m passionate about working in collaboration to embed personalised care standards across all health and social care areas, and I know that high-quality training and research is central to this. If you’re a training provider and would like to know more about having your courses assessed for PCI Accreditation, please contact us. 

*The term post-Covid syndrome is recognised by the RCGP for the condition otherwise referred to as Long Covid.

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