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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway

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Health Education England highlights the work of NELFT’s Aubrey Keep Library

The Aubrey Keep Library received national recognition recently when Health Education England reviewed four case studies for their Impact Case Studies Quality Group. The case studies were added to the HEE Impact Case Studies Database, which is a national database of case studies of library impacts.

To find out more about how the case studies came to be highlighted, we spoke to Clinical Librarian Lisa Burscheidt…

It was great to hear that Health Education England was highlighting four NELFT case studies. Could you explain what the case studies were?

Sure! The case studies are stories from NELFT staff about how the library’s work has helped them. They were particularly focussed on impact – how the library’s work has made a difference to critical things such as quality of patient care, saving money and time, helping staff make better decisions.

My favourite example currently is the case study we got from Geraldine Rodgers, a nurse consultant in frailty, about the refurbishment of Brookside Adolescent Unit. When this was first being thought about, Geraldine got in touch with us and asked us to run an evidence search to find out what the evidence base was around redesigning a hospital environment especially with regard to colours and patterns and how those affect the mood of patients and staff working in that environment. One of our expert searchers then ran a search on the healthcare databases and sent the results to Geraldine.

For the case study, Geraldine told us how this helped with making good decisions for the redesign, and how this contributed to fewer incidents of aggression and violence in the unit. This is a great example of how library work can make a very real difference to people’s lives, and how evidence-based decisions can be very beneficial to both patients and staff.

Why were they written?

There were various reasons for writing them. One reason is that, as healthcare librarians, we quite often don’t hear back from people after we’ve provided them with the information they request, be it from an expert search, or books and articles we source for them. We tend to get involved at the very start of processes that can be quite lengthy. So it was interesting to us to find out how people use what we provide for them, and whether it actually makes real differences to their work and to patient care.

Secondly, Health Education England has been campaigning for some time now to make sure library and knowledge services nationally become more visible and valued.

They published the Knowledge for Healthcare policy statement in 2016, with the ambitious vision that NHS bodies, their staff, learners, patients and the public use the right knowledge and evidence, at the right time, in the right place, enabling high-quality decision-making, learning, research and innovation to achieve excellent healthcare and health improvement.

The Value and Impact Toolkit that we use to measure our impact is part of this. It was published in 2015 and is meant to help libraries measure the impact they have so that they can demonstrate it.

The toolkit contains general surveys as well as the case studies template and we use both to measure our impact now. This helps us to know what impact we are having, and it also helps us market ourselves. It isn’t always easy to get people to understand what libraries, especially healthcare libraries like Aubrey Keep, can do for them. A lot of people still think of a library as a room full of books, and while it’s true that we have a room full of books (or rather a portakabin full of books and iPads), there is so much more that we do. Having case studies helps us showcase this, explain how our work makes a difference, and demonstrate to staff that we can support them in more ways than they probably realise.

Are there any further case studies planned?

Yes! We are always happy to hear from library users. At the moment, we send general surveys out to those that have asked us for searches or articles, and people can say if they’d be happy to provide a case study further down the link. We only contact people if they have told us that they are happy to contribute a case study.

People are also welcome to get in touch with us and tell their stories of how we have made an impact in their area of work.

Members of the public might be surprised to hear an NHS organisation has its own library – what are the benefits of the Aubrey Keep library for staff?

There are a lot of benefits to using the library! First of all, I feel I should say that the library is open to all NELFT staff. It doesn’t matter what your pay grade is, or whether you’re clinical or not – there’s something here for you.

For example:

We can save you time – we can find articles and resources for you and run searches to find good evidence to support your work. Whether you’re looking at an audit or service change, or you just want some general information to prep for a meeting with fellow professionals or a client with an unfamiliar presentation – no query is too big or too small.

We can help you keep up to date – we use the system KnowledgeShare to send personalised alerts, plus we make the Frail and Older People’s Care newsletter that comes out once a month.

We can teach you skills for finding good information – most people know how to use Google, and that’s obviously fine for a lot of things, but when it comes to healthcare there are often faster and better ways to find information that is reliable, up to date, and accessible. We can teach you where and how to look. Our information skills trainer is very flexible with timings and can teach on a 1-2-1 basis as well as larger groups.

We can contribute to your CPD requirements – We run reflective reading sessions that fit NMC requirements as well as a variety of other sessions that can help with CPD requirements for nursing and AHP revalidation as well as medical CPD requirements.

We can come to where you are. We are very happy to run a pop-up library, training session, or library information session in your space! We realise NELFT is geographically very spread out, so our library staff are set up for agile working and are happy to bring the library with them to where NELFT staff are working. We also have a large number of resources that are available online.

Finally, we have started partnering with public libraries in Outer North East London to support their health and wellbeing offers to local communities.

A big thank you to Lisa Burscheidt for taking the time to answer our questions and insight into what the Aubrey Keep library can do to help staff.

The four case studies can be accessed at: http://lks.kss.hee.nhs.uk/data/web/impact.htm

Pictured (L-R) are Sherin Francis (Assistant Librarian), Katherine Scott (Clinical Librarian), Natasha Howard (Library Manager), Lisa Burscheidt (Clinical Librarian), Mel Cross (Library Assistant) and Alice Cleaver (Apprentice Library Assistant).