Using behaviour change in practice to support reducing nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 by Lisa Fabb, Interim Programme Lead – Patient Safety

So we are three weeks in to 2021, and to be honest I’m struggling with my New Year’s resolution of running three times a week. I think back to when I was at my fittest and exercise came easily, why was I able to do it then but struggle now? Just before my 40th birthday a few other school mums (also coming to milestone birthdays) and I decided we wanted to do a marathon (in the times pre-COVID-19).  Our timetables aligned and it was easy to fit in our runs. I loved a chat and a run with good friends, it was a social event. It was timely just before a milestone birthday which really pushed me to achieve something. After learning more about behaviour change, I realise now that Easy, Timely and Social are three of four parts of “EAST Four simple ways to apply behavioural insights”   

I first heard about behaviour change science when I came to Improvement Cymru, it is a frequently used tool in the improvers tool kit. Described to me as ‘making the right thing to do the easy thing to do’.

When we had the chance to work with Birmingham University and the Improvement Academy behaviour change team we jumped at the chance – they had worked on infection prevention and control before with some great successes.

We were lucky enough to be able to host a free online masterclass (recording available here) with Birmingham University and Improvement Academy to talk about using behaviour change science in practice, to support reducing nosocomial transmission of COVID-19. It was an interactive session open to all where we explored the wide range of factors that influence our clinical practice behaviours and the approach to selecting techniques that most effectively support optimal practice. The barriers to correct use of PPE were discussed as a practical example.

The masterclass also features contributions from Mandy Rayani, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, Hywel Dda UHB and Dr Judith Dyson, General and Mental Health Nurse and Chartered Health Psychologist, Reader in Healthcare Research and Implementation Science at Birmingham City University and Improvement Academy Behaviour Change Specialist.

We discussed how in Healthcare, we tend to be better at providing  guidance and sharing information, but not so good at understanding why we do or don’t do the ‘right’ behaviour – more reading available here.

Discussions also took place around what the ‘individual’s determinants’ are, tailoring the change strategies to fit those determinants and having a theoretical approach to assessment. This ensures that the strategies chosen are effective like having simple reminders in the right place or practicing actions in simulations. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the session it was great to hear the practical example and learn some of the theory behind its success.

We know our NHS colleagues have been through a very difficult year, now more than ever we need to make safety easy.

Find out more by watching the recording of the masterclass here. Follow our social media for information on future sessions.