Nurses at drug and alcohol recovery service in Rochdale and Oldham nominated for national award

A team of nurses at Turning Point’s Rochdale and Oldham Active Recovery (ROAR) service has been nominated for a national award for their inspirational work.

As an important part of Turning Point’s ROAR service, the nursing team have led service improvement, ensuring quality, compassion and care for very vulnerable people.  

The team have been recognised for their work by being shortlisted in the Public Health Nursing category for the Nursing Times Awards 2023. 

The award recognises the important role that the nursing profession plays in promoting and protecting the public’s health. 

Nurses at ROAR not only provide day-to-day support to service users, they also find innovative ways to reach people struggling with drug and alcohol use.  

Within the service they have increased access to screening for blood borne viruses (BBV) and deliver Hepatitis B vaccinations and Hepatitis C treatment.   

Some of their out-of-service work includes, piloting outreach into homeless hostels, delivering mobile Hepatitis C testing and treatment in the community, introducing novel opiate substitute therapies, and providing system leadership on services for people with complex needs. 

A recent audit of randomised cases identified that over 90 per cent of ROAR’s clients had either current or past suicidal thoughts. Over 80 per cent of these clients had an unmet mental health need.   

As a result, a new specialist nurse post was created to foster closer links with local mental health providers. The specialist nurse works with Turning Point clients providing mental health interventions. As well as creating a team around a client approach and providing a system leadership role, driving through quality improvements. 

The team’s ambitions for the future include: achieving micro-elimination of Hepatitis C, extending the hostel outreach programme in order to increase the numbers in treatment and expanding their health screening, such as fibroscan for liver ailments, in order to reduce the pressure on primary care.     

David (not real name), a male 58-year-old client at ROAR said the nurses had helped him accept help for his substance use. 

“I have had substance use issues for over 15 years. I’ve used illicit substances like heroin, crack cocaine, diazepam and pregabalin. I am currently homeless after being evicted from my previous residence,” said David. 

“I haven’t liked engaging with services in the past. I have seen the nurses at Turning Point for reviews of my medicine and health check. I’ve seen them both in the service and hostels as well. 

“Their mental health nurse also completed a safety plan with me because I was having suicidal thoughts. They have puta plan in place for ongoing support and will talk to my GP if my mood deteriorates. 

“The relationship I have with the nurses means I will go and talk to them about any physical health concerns. They talk to my GP and come with me to appointments when I need them.” 

In April, the team received the Public Health Nursing Team of The Year in Turning Point’s national nursing awards. 

Karen Penswick, clinical services manager at ROAR, said, “We know that the staff and service users at Turning Point are really appreciative of the work that the nursing team does which gives us more motivation to do more innovative work. 

“I manage a really focused group of nurses who are dedicated to working with this client group. Some of them are quite new to this field but are really passionate about working with the clients whilst others have worked in this field for quite a while.  

“I feel very proud of being able to manage this team because they are solution focused. They want what’s best for the client so if a client won’t come and see us, they’ll go out to their house or they’ll go and see them in a hospital or in a hostel.  

“Our nurses recognise that some of our clients don’t go and see the GP or they don’t attend hospital appointments. We need to reach these clients and give them harm reduction advice and make it easier for them to access services.” 

Annie Lynn, senior operations manager at ROAR added, “Some of the people we work with have a multitude of issues that they may need support with. We work with people with complex needs, we work with people who have been through trauma. Having that clinical capacity to be able to support people and ensure they’re on the right medications, can mean that they can travel through that recovery journey a little easier. Whether it’s for stabilisation, whether it’s harm reduction, whether it’s recovery, the clinical team are integral to everything we do.” 

Julie Bass, Turning Point CEO, said, “My congratulations to the team at ROAR. Being shortlisted for a national nursing award is no small achievement. I am immensely proud of their hard work, their professionalism and their commitment to the people of Rochdale and Oldham.” 

This blog was originally published by Turning Point. You can read the original post here.

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