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Safety huddle in a community nursing setting

02 September 2020
Volume 25 · Issue 9


A safety huddle is a meeting held among district nurses, allied health professionals, specialist nurses, administrative staff, community matrons and healthcare assistants, also known as the wider multidisciplinary team. This article aims to identify and discuss the importance of safety huddles within a community nursing team. The author, a Specialist Community Practitioner District Nurse (SCPDN), explores why safety huddles were introduced and the implications of staff and patient safety if a safety huddle is not performed. The article also discusses the role of the SCPDN, how patient harm is sustained when communication failures occur within a team, new technologies implemented into practice and the implementation of safety huddles electronically.

The number of district nurses (DNs) employed in the NHS has fallen by 43% in the past 10 years in England alone (Launder, 2019). The impact of this reduction in the DN workforce has resulted in existing DNs managing enormous workloads, with approximately 4000 nurses delivering care for almost 55 million people (Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI), 2019). It is estimated that, by 2039, 18% of the population will be aged 65 years and over, and although healthcare has improved, people are not necessarily living healthier lifestyles (Government Office for Science, 2016). Mehta (2017) suggested that wider factors than healthcare services alone determine a person's health, for example, whether they exercise, what they eat and where they live and work; therefore, to improve health and lifestyles, these determinants need to be addressed. This increase in the older population will place increased pressure on the NHS, particularly district nursing services, as most people cared for under these services are older (Ham et al, 2016). Robineau (2016) reported that more than 40% of the NHS budget will be devoted to people in this age group. The care of a person aged 85 years costs the NHS roughly seven times more than that for a person in their late 30s (at around £7000 a year) (Office for National Statistics, 2019).

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