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​​​Best Use of Patient Experience award winner

The Aurora Project Lambeth

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​​The Aurora Project works closely with an addictions research team at King’s College London (KCL) and co-runs a service-user research group (SURG) with researchers at KCL. Five members of the SURG were invited to join a project on lung health in addictions based at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust(SLaM), alongside researchers from KCL, a respiratory specialist from KCL and key worker from SLaM. The service-user representatives became ‘KISSU’ - King’s Improvement Science Service-Users.

Aurora Project was instrumental in ensuring integrated and strong service-user involvement in the project. The team succeeded in producing a questionnaire to identify risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in people with addictions. The questionnaire helps to identify risk of COPD and measures symptoms of breathlessness. There is a greatly increased prevalence of COPD among users of addictions services (largely because of increase rates of smoking). An additional risk is that symptoms of respiratory illness are masked by methadone and heroin.

KISSU played a key role in the success of the project. Particularly through the group’s lead and contribution to:
  • design of the questionnaire, by identifying health related behaviours and advising on how questions can be accessible to service-users in clinic. The questionnaire has support and buy-in from managers at the Lambeth Drug and Alcohol Treatment Consortium
  • training on the questionnaire for key workers at the Lambeth Drug and Alcohol Treatment Consortium, and also championing the importance of lung health in addictions services from a service-user perspective
  • co-producing an information leaflet with the lead clinician on COPD and its risks which will be distributed at the Consortium, this includes the importance of having needs assessed and how to access care, assessment and support
  • co-producing a flyer to promote a clinic for assessing service users’ lung health. The flyer is eye catching and friendly, containing relevant information to engage service-users at the Consortium.
KISSU not only reflected on personal experience but on experiences of peers which gave a broader and more representative service-user voice, advocating care for many who may be otherwise ‘seldom heard’.

Aurora Project is the nucleus for service-user involvement in the Lung Health in Addictions project. The facilitation, support and passion from the team at Aurora Project has ensured that KISSU have the support to be heard and involved in a collaborative, multidisciplinary project. The changes made in the project have been supported by varied staff at the Consortium and have consequently been integrated into their routine practice. 

“Aurora Project has provided an exemplar model of how an organisation can bridge the gap between service-user voices and changes made to the care they receive.”​