Jan’s safety-first approach wins national recognition

The work of an Oxford Health nurse who has helped to keep patients safe while receiving vital treatment has been recognised at a national level.

Jan’s safety-first approach wins national recognition

Jan Turner-Wilson – a respiratory nurse – has been shortlisted in the 2020 HSJ Patient Safety Awards for her work and vision which has resulted in lives being saved and good practice developed in Oxfordshire becoming a national standard.

In 2010 Jan started to develop a risk assessment tool to help find and mitigate risks in the homes of patients who needed oxygen therapy to help with a range of medical conditions.

This tool was then shared with the South Central regional home oxygen network and a project group formed to refine the tool and roll it out across the region.

Oxygen therapy helps people with a range of medical conditions such as heart failure, chronic respiratory disease and some neurological problems. If care is not taken it can be very flammable, the tubing can pose a trip hazard and lead to serious incidents if risks are not considered and managed.

Jan explained: “Back in 2010 we had a review undertaken by the government’s Lung Improvement Programme and I mentioned my concerns about the safety of some home environments where we are asked to assess for home oxygen equipment.

“They encouraged me to look at systematically identifying risks and ways to mitigate them so that people could get the treatment they needed in safety.

“Having worked hard and refined the tool over a number of years we can now say that we have prevented injuries, saved lives and money as well as helped people to live healthier and happier lives.”

Pete McGrane, Clinical Director, Oxfordshire Community Services, at Oxford Health, said: “Jan’s vision and initiative has helped to keep people safe not just locally but right across the country and it is fitting that her work has received national recognition.

“This is just one example of the kind of work that Oxford Health can be proud of and that helps ensure the people we work for get the best and safest treatment.”

Jan’s work supports the Oxfordshire Respiratory and Home Oxygen Team in providing a safe and effective service, the work in our team and region feeds into the National Home Oxygen Safety Committee by Sue Channon, Home Oxygen Contract Manager and Regional Home Oxygen Service Lead, at North Hampshire CCG.

There are approximately 130,000 patients on Home Oxygen at any time and on average 450 patients in Oxfordshire.

No specialist training is required to request Home Oxygen and until Jan started her work there was no mandatory clinical evaluation of safety or risk before oxygen was requested for patients. Since 2017 it is a mandatory assessment in England and Wales, the IHORM (Initial Home Oxygen Risk Mitigation form) has been developed collaboratively from this original work to help reduce fatalities by identifying high risk patients and therefore managing the risks to improve patient’s safety and health.

The tool Jan worked on has resulted in the number of serious fires and fatalities being reduced. This has resulted in a reduction costs across the whole health and fire safety economies. According to RoSPA is the average cost per fatality is £1.61M so a reduction in 5 fatalities is a possible saving of over £8 Million to the economy.

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Published: 23 November 2020