24 April 2019

National Award Nomination for Inspirational Rachel Luby, from John Howard centre

An inspirational clinical lead has been shortlisted for a national award in recognition of her tireless work for improved sexual health and expression within mental health services.

Rachel Luby has been nominated for a Mental Health Nursing Award as part of RCNi Nursing Awards 2019.

She has led a Quality Improvement project at the Trust’s John Howard Centre in Hackney to transform patient experience. The project started by identifying that there was reluctance and fear around anything related to sexuality. The aim was then to make staff and patients more confident to talk about sexuality in general. The team set themselves the target of seeing a 7 out of 10 confidence rate set by patients when asked about confidence in talking about their sexuality by 2020.

When the project started, the rating was at 3 out of 10 and after interventions it has reached 5 out of 10 so far.

The project team includes a ward psychologist, occupational therapist, junior doctor, nursing staff and service user. The project is classified as having ‘Big I’ involvement, meaning the patient who inspired it is an equal stakeholder in the project team.

Rachel Luby said: “Using the Quality Improvement methodology allowed us to produced evidence and can actually see how this is benefiting our patients. It is rewarding to be able to test ideas and improve them as we go. Also, we had great support from the leadership team. QI also allows the project to be shared with other trusts and we already have two other organisations planning their own versions of the project as a result of the nomination alone.”

The project has led to changes in policy and guidelines, with a sexual health nurse attending wards to offer screening, advice and treatment to patients.

Rachel’s personal mental health journey encouraged her to speak out about patients who struggle with intimacy whilst in hospital.

The London South Bank University graduate said she was overwhelmed at being nominated.

“I feel honoured that the work has been recognised and hope that this nomination will see the work shared, not only across the unit, but the trust and beyond,” she added.

Further plans include a weekly group session on love, sex and intimacy, and a sexual expression care plan for each patient.

The RCNi awards ceremony will take place in London at the Park Plaza hotel in Westminster on 3 July.

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ELFT uses Quality Improvement (QI) to tackle complex issues by following structured steps which include understanding the problem, developing a strategy and ideas for change, testing and analysing data.

Click here to learn more about the ELFT QI method.

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