Leuchie and QMU shortlisted for Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2018

Leuchie House and Queen Margaret University have been shortlisted for the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2018.  The Leuchie/QMU entry in the ‘Social and Environmental Impact’ category, focuses on a project researching the potential for a pioneering new Leuchie Outreach Service. 

The project is part of the partnership between the East Lothian charity and the university, which was launched last year. The proposed outreach programme would extend the boundaries of Leuchie’s existing provision, taking aspects of the service to a much wider range of people.

People living with long term conditions often find it difficult to access services such as specialist nursing, wheelchair assessment and physiotherapy when they need them. In the longer term, this can have a devastating impact on health and wellbeing, resulting in the need for hospital admissions and acute care which could have been prevented. All these services form part of the unique package which people, who come to Leuchie House for short respite breaks, are able to benefit from. These services also demonstrate where the Leuchie team has developed specialist expertise.

In conjunction with the academic staff at QMU, the shortlisted research project is exploring a business model that would enable more people in the community to access these services, delivered either by Leuchie or by other healthcare providers under license. Service aspects being evaluated include an information hub where people with long term conditions and their carers could easily find the practical information they need; a wheelchair assessment service where wheelchair users can have essential regular checks and repairs done; an integrated assessment and rehabilitation service providing physiotherapy, counselling, speech therapy and a wider range of other preventative health and social care services; and a knowledge exchange community for health professionals.

Leuchie House has strong links with QMU though student placements.  The University’s Division of Nursing and Centre for Person-centred Practice Research have a well-established reputation in research into person-centred care and in particular, working with people who are living with long term conditions.  Research carried out by academics in this centre has international recognition and acclaim for using person-centred approaches to developing and evaluating services. 

As the proposed new Leuchie Outreach service is a prime example of a person-centred service, this presented an excellent opportunity for collaboration. Through the QMU networks, this knowledge could be transferrable nationally and globally and would potentially enable Leuchie House to build a network of partners and new relationships that could extend its global reach. It is also envisaged that nursing education could contribute to future staff development at Leuchie House and provide person-centred experience for QMU nursing students. 

Miriam Smith, Business Development Manager in the Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Unit at QMU, said: “We’re really pleased that our collaborative project with Leuchie House has been shortlisted for this award. “QMU’s nursing team are engaged in developing new approaches to education at Leuchie House, which includes providing opportunities for QMU students to experience working in the development and support of person-centred services, and identifying and collaborating on mutually beneficial research projects within nursing, health and rehabilitation, events management and sustainable business. “We’re also working together to advance the cause of person-centred services and cultures through the development of innovative projects and services.”

The first stage of the project was carried out in 2016/17. Funding is now being sought to progress with the next stage.

Leuchie House’s Chief Executive, Mairi O’Keefe said:  “We’re thrilled to have been shortlisted for this award. The project is one which we’re passionate about at Leuchie House. We see on a daily basis the enormous benefits all the individual services we provide can have for people with long term conditions. Although the number of people we’re supporting through our respite breaks and day respite services are growing every year, there is, of course, a limit to the number we can help in this way. To be able to extend the service to community level through an outreach programme would, we believe, have significant benefits for health and social care provision across Scotland.

“Having completed stage one of the research required to develop a strong business model for the outreach programme, with QMU we are now exploring options to fund the next stage. Being shortlisted for the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards is an encouraging sign that the value and potential for the project are clear.”

The awards ceremony will take place at Royal Bank of Scotland Conference Centre, Gogarburn, Edinburgh, on Thursday 22 February.