Our specialist nurse lead for north regions Carol Adcock recently won the ‘Above and Beyond’ award in the inaugural Neuro Rehab Times Awards. We thought this was an ideal opportunity to share more information about Carol and just a few of the reasons why she so justly deserves this award.
Having qualified as a State Enrolled Nurse in 1985, Carol’s roles within the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre enabled her to gain experience and knowledge in all aspects of SCI including acute care, rehabilitation and community care provision. Carol was instrumental in the concept and development of the outreach service within the centre, significantly reducing the waiting times of newly injured individuals requiring admission and this was just the start of her going above and beyond.
Carol made the huge decision to leave her friends and colleagues at Southport after 28 years to join SIA to help start a new service. On her appointment, Carol said:
“I am so enthused and passionate about achieving the vison of this service – that all patients who have acquired an SCI should receive expert, appropriate care and advice whether they are within a specialist centre or in another healthcare setting.”
Carol soon became aware of the difficulties patients with SCI had in receiving support from health care professionals with their bowel care interventions.
“Imagine ….. you are unwell, trapped in bed. Despite asking for help you have been told you cannot go to the toilet. You have been put in a nappy and told you must open your bowels in that and wait for someone to come and clean you up …. When they are free!
Your skin becomes sore and almost burnt from your own excrement. The bacteria from your poo has entered your bladder and you are becoming more unwell due to a bladder infection, with a risk of septicaemia.
Your family and associates are willing to come in and help you go the toilet but they are not allowed.
Your bowel is becoming so full that there is a serious risk of bowel perforation but before this occurs you are terrified because you know if this doesn’t kill you then the risk of your blood pressure reaching such high levels could kill you anyway, but no one is listening.
You lay in the bed with all sense of dignity and control lost…. helpless.
She began addressing this issue at a more strategic level by sharing what she had learnt and dispelling some of the myths about digital rectal interventions. Her aim still is to motivate each nurse to be the driver for change in improving bowel care delivery within their own organisation. To date Carol has met with various NHS managers and trusts and been interviewed by healthcare journals to try and improve this vital part of patient care which if ignored can cause huge distress to a patient.
Carol, along with fellow SCI nurse Debbie Green also instigated the Emergency Care Plan (ECP’s) at SIA This is a potentially life-saving document that is completed by one of SIA’s nurse specialists, so it has clinical validation. The emergency care plan details a patient’s essential SCI care needs considering bladder, bowel, skin and respiration management and, where appropriate, autonomic dysreflexia. For those who are admitted to hospital in an emergency, the plan will let the clinical team treating them know precisely what it is they need to stay safe and well.
Carol came up with the concept when she created a pre admission care plan and met with the clinical team for a patient who was being admitted for a procedure to a general hospital.
The first one she did with SIA was with a Tracey Geldart and she met with the team at her local hospital to have it embedded in her electronic records.
Tracey Geldhart said:
“It had more clout than my boyfriend (at the time) or me trying to explain my care needs. It was put in my hospital file so came with me to the ward where the nursing staff also referred to it. I have been admitted several times over the years with pneumonia, the care plan is always used to reference my care. It has been invaluable.”
Carol then produced one with a patient at Wythenshawe hospital which was highlighted by the hospital and won an initiative award at Bladder & Bowel UK.
Carol continues to campaign with SIA to raise awareness of the poor state of bowel care for SCI patients and has been an integral part of the charities recent #SeriousSh1t campaign.
ECP’s are now offered to any SCI patient who would like one and Carol is working with the RCN (The Royal College of Nursing) to receive their official endorsement of our ECP’s.