18 July 2019

A pioneering Bedfordshire community health project has been adopted as a national model of good practice.

The Pressure Ulcer Food First Initiative (PUFFINs) and diabetic foot attack programme was first trialled across Luton and Bedfordshire in order to apply a holistic approach to care.

It was launched to support care home staff who are not always aware of the links between malnutrition, diabetic foot care and pressure ulcers.

The project team includes Dietitians from the Food First Team, Podiatrists and Tissue Viability Nurses, all members of Bedfordshire Community Health Services (BCHS) which the Trust provides in partnership with Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust (CCS).

They worked together to develop and enhance a programme of training that emphasises preventative care across all specialities.

A key part of the initiative is the creation of PUFFIN champions in each care or nursing home so that ownership of the programme is established.

Pressure ulcers cause harm to residents by causing pain, infections and risks mortality. The estimated cost to the NHS is between £1.4 and £2.1 billion every year.

But they are preventable if care home staff know how to apply the techniques and methodology identified by the Bedfordshire team.

The team’s work  was championed at the Chief Allied Health Professionals Officers Conference in London on 18th July, a joint initiative between NHS Improvement and AHP. 

On hearing the news that the team’s work is being identified as a national model of good practice, Emma Stoneman, Professional Lead for Podiatry for Bedfordshire Community Health Services said: “This is brilliant news and an opportunity to demonstrate the  potential of AHPs.

"By creating PUFFIN champions there is potential to make a real impact and improve the quality of life for a vulnerable population."

Emma and the team’s hope now is that the programme will be rolled out as part of the national React to Red pressure ulcer prevention initiative aimed at wider health and social care professionals.

NHS Improvement and #AHPsintoActions' 'Quick Guide: Allied Health Professionals Enhancing Health for People in Care Homes' is available here.