Building Bridges: Self-management and co-production in the rehabilitation of people with complex disabilities

Knowledge Exchange Framework perspective demonstrated: Intellectual property and commercialisation

Since 2013 the Bridges Self-Management approach developed by Professor Fiona Jones has been used to support patients living with stroke, major trauma, brain injury and other complex health conditions in the UK and globally.

The practical implementation of this research has been operationalised through a social enterprise, Bridges Self-Management Limited (BSML). BSML has found that the research equips practitioners to support self-management in people living with long-term conditions, can reduce unnecessary use of health care services, and by doing so improves the confidence and quality of life of clients and client's families.

Practitioners' behaviour has changed as a result of working in a 'Bridges way' and 92% state that Bridges has helped them build better relationships with patients and their families and has made them more able to support patients to achieve meaningful outcomes. Bridges has also impacted service delivery, for example, paediatric service waiting times have decreased from three months to just one.

The research has demonstrated the feasibility of integrating Bridges into the practice of acute and community healthcare teams. Furthermore, research carried out in Otago and Flinders Universities support cultural applicability in New Zealand and Australia.

What Building Bridges has achieved so far

BSML has delivered consultancy and training in self-management support to over 380 different health and social care teams, reaching over 4,000 individual practitioners and thousands of people living with stroke, brain injury and other long-term conditions

Since 2014, BSML has developed and distributed over 7000 booklets and digital tools (app and website) for people (and their families) with stroke and other complex health conditions. More than 20,000 were provided through training packages commissioned by healthcare teams. By reading about how others cope, patients and their families can learn more about how they can improve or at least manage their condition.

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, BSML provided free webinars on various topics accessed by over 3,200 healthcare practitioners worldwide. Surveys showed that the webinars offered a safe place to reflect on self-management, resilience, and person-centred practice at a time of reactive and challenging healthcare.

Since 2014, BSML moved from workshop delivery to include larger quality improvement projects. As a result of these projects multiple healthcare teams and pathways of care have adopted new efficient working processes and systems after integrating Bridges into their delivery.

Building Bridges: plans for the future

Going forward, a new research project led by Professor Fiona Jones will look at codesigning and evaluating a personalised support programme for people with long Covid using the Building Bridges training methodology.

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