Please find below two detailed case studies to bring to life the type of in-house work we can offer.
Breathing new life into change with mindfulness at Anthony Nolan
Anthony Nolan is a charity set up to assist with the matching of stem cells with transplant recipients. As part of its work, Anthony Nolan collects, analyses (types), stores and ‘matches’ potential donors to needy recipients. Over the last few years, the laboratories have been taking part in a major programme to introduce new tissue typing technology and thereby, enable more accurate matching of donors to recipients. This programme required a major change in all the lab processes while, at the same time, carrying on with all the day to day laboratory testing. The situation was high pressure and stressful and, after two years, the participants were flagging and showing signs of mental exhaustion.
Vari McLuskie, the programme director from Verve Consulting, noted the ‘project fatigue’ and suggested a solution. Vari had been a practitioner of Mindfulness and Meditative practices for more than 25 years and felt certain the some of these techniques could help. Therefore, she suggested to the laboratory director, Katy Latham, that she carry out a 10 week programme which focused on Mindfulness, integrated with some time management skills. Her suggestion was accepted and then, every Tuesday lunchtime, a group of key, senior lab managers, joined Vari who carried out the Mindfulness training.
“Up until that point,” explained Katy Latham, “Everyone was slowing down. They were fatigued and the whole programme felt like it was losing momentum. Everybody was stressed, so Vari suggested a ‘Learning and Development opportunity.” Katy admitted that, while everyone had heard of Mindfulness, doing it in a work situation felt strange. Katy then elaborated, “Many people were sceptical too – we made certain that the window on the door was covered so that no one could see what we were doing.” Vari quickly covered the fundamentals of mindfulness, integrating the explanation with practical, group activities and time management techniques.
“I found it very enjoyable. Everyone went into the sessions very stressed and came out far more relaxed, focused and effective. It seemed to help us breathe new life into our project at a very difficult time. I don’t have exact numbers, but around 50% of those who attended have carried on with the practice and it has certainly helped the team bond and work together more effectively’.
Culture change at a NW Health Authority
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist inpatient and community mental health services for the people of Merseyside. It also provides secure mental health services for the North West of England, the West Midlands and Wales and specialist learning disability services across Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside. They are one of only three trusts in the country that provide these services. Mersey Care’s services are provided across 36 sites across the North West led by a central corporate team. Over 5000 staff serves a population of almost 11 million people.
Dene was approached by Mersey Care who were implementing a long term plan of service transformation in order to improve the quality of the care that they provided whilst safely reducing costs, so that they could continue to invest in meeting increasing demand for services. One initiative of Mersey Care’s corporate team created to support the workforce, was to introduce a systemic approach of Mindfulness in the workplace. Mersey Care established a Mindfulness Network made up of managerial, clinical and academic members of the workforce. The network included a number of work streams including Research, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course delivery, mindfulness for staff wellbeing and mindfulness interventions with specific patient groups.
Dene was asked by the corporate team to be part of the Mindfulness Network as an independent consultant and mindfulness teacher. Dene had worked in several senior NHS management and directorate roles, and had been providing mindfulness training within the public sector since 2003. Dene become a member of the Mersey Care Research Group and MBSR Course Delivery Group. He was also asked to provide two eight week, nine session experiential mindfulness courses for the workforce, including members of the corporate team and senior clinicians. The aim was to support course participants in learning how to embody mindfulness practice rather than use it as another clinical or managerial intervention.
Dene agreed to offer two mindfulness courses and additionally developed the competence and skills of participants. This enabled them to facilitate mindfulness groups and model mindfulness in the workplace, helping to sustain mindfulness practice in the workplace. After this initial delivery, demand for the course by the workforce was so great that Dene was asked to undertake four further courses reaching over sixty of the Mersey Care workforce.
The course design encouraged mindfulness practice sustainability and development in the workplace. As a result two permanent mindfulness practice groups for staff and patients were established by Mersey Care.
The groups are still facilitated by ‘mindfulness champions’ who were identified during the courses: three course participants went on to undertake mindfulness teacher training to allow further mindfulness programmes to be provided internally. Two years on from the completion of the programme, Dene is still invited back to Mersey Care. Where he leads mindfulness groups for patients and the workforce and offers one to one mindfulness mentoring within Mersey Care’s secure mental health settings.