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Free tool to help carers spot deterioration launched

24 April 2020
Significant Care is a free tool designed to help carers spot the early signs of deterioration in the health of those they care for and to make good decisions about what to do to help.

UCLPartners, in partnership with NELFT, Care City and Basildon and Brentwood CCG, has launched Significant Care, a free tool designed to help carers spot the early signs of deterioration in the health of those they care for and to make good decisions about what to do to help.

During this time of self-isolation due to COVID-19, we are launching Significant Care, a paper based tool to help support older people, their carers’ and families. The tool aims to help carers both at home and in a care home setting to identify the signs of deterioration in the person specifically related to their skin, toilet habits, mobility and levels of confusion and take prompt action.

Significant Care was developed in partnership with carers groups across North East London, Care City, NELFT and Basildon and Brentwood who identified a need for basic health and care skills guidance, particularly focused on recognising signs of deterioration. The tool is an adaptation of Significant 7+, developed by NELFT for care home staff to identify and proactively manage health deterioration in residents. Significant 7+ tool has been recognised as one of the key early warning tools in a recent care homes report by the AHSN network. When Significant 7+ launched in care homes across Barking, Havering and Redbridge it led to a reduction in hospital admissions, and an increase in the confidence of care home staff in their role. Over the past year UCLPartners has been supporting a number of teams across our region to adopt Significant 7+.

To promote early recognition of deterioration and help avoid problems like infections and falls which could require hospitalisation at a time when the NHS is seeing unprecedented demand, we have produced:

If you have had a chance to review and/or use the resource, we would be very pleased to hear your feedback and would appreciate your time in filling in a short survey.          

For more information about the tool and any questions or feedback, please contact  

John Illingworth, Head of Patient Safety at UCLPartners commented “In these unprecedented times, spotting deterioration and acting quickly has become more important than ever. With patient safety as a guiding principle of everything we do, we are proud to make a contribution to the COVID-19 response by supporting carers to recognise and respond to the soft signs of deterioration in a consistent way”

Geraldine Rodgers, Deputy Chief Nurse and Nurse Fellow for Older People, NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG and NELFT’s Significant 7 Clinical Lead said: “A reoccurring theme through our conversations with carers has been the importance of accessibility of learning, based on the feedback, “If only we knew that”. We are therefore delighted to launch this tool to support carers at home and in the care home setting to spot the early signs of deterioration and to act quickly.”

Stephanie Dawe, NELFT Chief Nurse and Executive Director for Integrated Care Essex and Kent, said: “Patient safety is always at the heart of everything we do as health and care professionals, never more so than at this challenging time. The pandemic means there will be added anxieties for those who are caring for their loved ones at home and we hope the launch of the Significant Care tool will go some way to helping carers to support people in their own homes, as well as supporting those in care home settings.”

Read more about UCLPartners work on deterioration.