Adopt SPACES to cut staff exposure to COVID-19, say Leicester experts
Sharing Patient Assessments Cuts Exposure for Staff (SPACES), has been adopted by the British Thoracic Society and endorsed by the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Nursing, and is in line with current NHS and Public Health England guidance on COVID-19 infection prevention and control.
The SPACES approach can help ward teams to keep staff safe by reducing the need for multiple entries into rooms for standard procedures, observations and assessments. For example, when one healthcare worker makes contact with a patient they are encouraged to deliver all basic aspects of care – checking position and comfort, monitoring symptoms and documenting their observations – irrespective of whether they are a healthcare assistant (HCA), doctor or nurse. Current practice may have a HCA visit a patient to remove a food tray, followed by a medic to make a clinical assessment, and then a nurse to take observations.
In addition, remote assessments and consultations using phones, intercoms and two-way radios can be adopted, where it enhances patient safety and well-being and doesn’t compromise staff safety through unnecessary face-to-face contact.
Professor Jon Bennett, senior respiratory consultant at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “SPACES came about from a realisation that traditional models of ward management were not fit for purpose when looking after patients with COVID-19. It’s like nothing we’ve encountered before, so we needed to come up with new and smarter ways of working that both benefitted patients and kept staff safe, well and able to work.
“It has been a multidisciplinary effort to get the concept of SPACES developed and tested in our first COVID-19 dedicated ward at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester. We are therefore delighted to see that it has been adopted by national bodies as best practice. Within just two weeks of piloting it, SPACES has become the template for managing patients with COVID-19 in a ward environment across the UK. This highlights the rapid implementation of innovative practice occurring within the NHS in these extraordinary times.”
Professor Bennett, who is also the Chair of the British Thoracic Society, added: “Thanks to support from my colleagues at the British Thoracic Society, we have been able to refine the initial approach that was piloted, and can now provide SPACES as a free download so it can be used across the UK and abroad.”
While SPACES has been developed with hospital ward staff in mind, it could also be adapted and applied to those working in social care settings.
The free download is available here and has been accessed 9,149 times since 27 March.