The concept of the Sally Hernando Innovation Awards, sought to find ‘novel’ ways of providing a service or a completely new product which has not been seen before in NHS library/knowledge services.

Whilst the adoption of ideas from elsewhere in the NHS and Healthcare LKS is admirable and to be encouraged, for the purposes of these innovation awards, they are interested in new ideas rather than local adoption of best practice from elsewhere within NHS LKS.

Distraction Therapy Collection Tracking System

The Distraction Therapy Collection is a range of specialist equipment, including touch screen monitors and tablet computers provided by My Improvement Network which healthcare professionals can use at point of care to distract and stimulate patients with dementia.

In a successful collaboration with Older Adults Mental Health Team and the Dementia Support Team, Library and Knowledge Services created a unique online tracking system to manage the established collection. The repository for the collection is now managed by the Library.

The Library and Knowledge Services Manager was invited to the Trust Dementia Steering Group Meeting to present on how other NHS library services were developing reminiscence collections. The Advanced Nurse Practitioner of the Older Adults Mental Health Team was at the meeting and confirmed that the Trust already had an established specialist collection of resources for patients with dementia called the Distraction Therapy Collection. However, it was felt that it could benefit a wider audience, as there was no formal loan procedure.

How did it work?

It was agreed the Library Manager and the Advanced Nurse Practitioner would work in partnership to review how to manage the collection more effectively and promote. The Library Manager setup a Task and Finish Group for the project and assigned the Evidence Based Information Specialist to lead

The Advanced Nurse Practitioner designated a Dementia Support Worker with knowledge of the equipment and its use on wards. The nominated staff arranged a series of meetings to undertake the agreed action plan. The collection was moved from the Older Peoples Mental Health Team’s office to the library to alleviate storage problems.

There wasn’t a record of what was in the collection so an inventory was compiled, and checks made to ensure all equipment worked. The absence of a formal loaning procedure made it difficult to track equipment and make borrowers accountable for damaged or misplaced items so a loan procedure was devised and a website created explaining the process.

Equipment was labelled and added to the library catalogue so it could be tracked. Furthermore, the library team received training on using the specialist equipment and My Improvement Network Ward visits were undertaken to explain the formalised loan process to Ward Managers and register their wards on the new system.

What methods were used to evaluate your innovation?

The library management system (Koha) was used to catalogue specialist equipment using a ‘Distraction Therapy Collection”’ series heading and library cards were issued to wards to loan items. Koha reports provide usage data to demonstrate that the service is being used and which items in the collection are loaned. This information informs promotional activities and collection development.

Once the loan procedure was devised, certain wards were identified where the process was piloted. This enabled the library team to gain direct feedback from the Ward Managers about the loan procedure and elements were streamlined before the process was formalised and extended to all wards. The Library Manager attends the Dementia Steering Group Meeting and provides a progress report about the project.

Implementation of the formalised loan procedure has enabled the service currently used to distract and stimulate patients with dementia, to be extended to engage patients with learning disabilities and vulnerable adults.

The Distraction Therapy Collection project has been an excellent opportunity to work in partnership with clinical teams and make a real difference in supporting patient care. The Library Manager was proactive in showcasing best practice of how libraries supported clinical teams and helped engage clinicians about the project.

The Evidence Based Information Specialist gained a clear understanding of the challenges the Dementia Support Worker experienced managing the collection and their collaborative approach facilitated identifying practical solutions to overcome them. Training provided by the Dementia Support Worker on using the specialist equipment and My Improvement Network have enabled the library team to gain confidence passing this knowledge to borrowers.

The service has been effective in improving access to the Distraction Therapy Collection by supporting healthcare professionals make optimum use of specialist equipment to engage service users. Furthermore, it streamlined the loaning process by creating a formalised procedure.

Download Case Study

Download this case study in full as a PDF by clicking on the button below.


Enquire or Book a Demo

If you have any questions or would like to find out more please complete the form below or contact us.

Royal College of Nursing

My Improvement Network are committed to investing in education for health care professionals and are proud supporters of RCN Projects

The integration and use of technology within healthcare offers significant benefits in both primary and secondary care settings. These benefits can extend across nursing practice from improving person centered care to enhancing daily workflows. Providing educational tools that empower and guide nursing staff through this digital revolution is critical and will help facilitate successful incorporation and safe implementation of technologies within nursing, by nurses.