QI Hub: Project ideas

BGS Clinical Quality Committee
QI Hub working group
Date Published:
16 November 2022
Last updated: 
16 November 2022

This section provides hints and tips for quality improvement projects that relate to the health and care of older people, with real examples from abstracts and posters submitted to BGS conferences.

If you are struggling for ideas about where to start on your Quality Improvement journey, below are a few suggestions to get you started. We hope the ideas below act as a springboard for your project - and if in doubt, speak to your team!

Preventing harm

Patient Safety

Implementing best practice

Working with patients and carers

Preventing Constipation

Falls Risk Assessment

Introducing Comprehensive Geriatric Assessments

Advance Care Planning

Contracture prevention

Fragility Fractures: Risk assessment and management

Identifying Delirium

Understanding and Reducing Carer Stress

Fluid intake and restriction

Improving Medication compliance: e.g. Reducing missed medications on chart

Dementia Care: Referral to CNS, Carer Passports

Correcting sensory impairment: Hearing aids, glasses etc.

Diarrhoea: Managing Infection vs. Overflow

Pain assessment and management

Mood assessment and treatment

DVLA Driving Advice

Incontinence: Managing Urinary and Faecal incontinence

Postural Hypotension

Parkinson’s: e.g Inpatient CNS review, medication timing

Planning for End-of-Life Care

Nutrition assessment: MUST, Food & Fluid charts

Perioperative anticoagulation

Safe Sedative use: Z-Drugs, sedatives, benzodiazepine,

Providing Family Updates

Improving and maintaining Oral health

Treatment Escalation Plans


Preventing PJ Paralysis

Assessing and reducing Polypharmacy

Reducing opiate use



Preventing Pressure sores

Improving Communication and hand-over


Improving Communications

A great way of spreading you work is to present it at a conference. An abstract gives a concise overview of your project, your important results and interventions and can inspire others to followup or do similar projects.

Writing an abstract may seem challenging. In this section of the Hub we have picked out some examples of excellent abstracts and posters from the 2021 BGS Spring and Autumn meetings to provide some inspiration, and to demonstrate how to write and abstract and present a poster.

The BGS abstract submission guidelines can be found here, and information on preparing a virtual poster can be found here

Example 1

Improving patient safety by reducing the incidence of missed medications in elective surgical patients – Dr Anna Halstead and Dr George Williams

This was one of the top scoring abstracts from the BGS Spring Meeting 2021 and the poster is equally as good. It has a clear layout with introduction, methods, results and next steps distinctly demonstrated.

What is important about a poster is getting the key messages across clearly and quickly – the graph in the bottom left corner of this poster does this. It demonstrates the progressive reduction in missed medications with advancing PDSA cycles. This poster also has eye-catching infographic demonstrating their three PDSA cycles.

Example 2

Nottingham ICE (N-ICE) Cream – A more nutritious, palatable and preferred high protein, vitamin D fortified vanilla ice cream – a step towards improving patient care – Arunpreet Sahota, Jack Wallman, Richard Worrall and Opinder Sahota
This poster from the BGS Spring Meeting 2021 takes a more minimalistic approach with focused text for introduction, method and conclusion.
The characteristics that were evaluated and the results of their intervention are clearly demonstrated in striking infographics.
If you were walking past this poster in a poster hall you would be able to note these memorable interventions and results easily.

Example 3

Neurosurgery services should consider embedding geriatrician reviews in existing pathways – Dr Lauren Soutter, Mr Christopher Uff, Mr Stefan Yordanov and Dr Dhanupriya Sivapathasuntharam
The key findings of this poster from the BGS Spring Meeting 2021 are the most prominent feature, highlighting the importance of these results.
This method of presentation attracts the reading in with the central key message and provides further detail around the sides for those who are more interested.
This allows readers to gain as much or as little detail they desire.

Example abstracts

Example 1

Improving Advance Care Planning discussions and communication with primary care in geriatric medicine in a district general – M Twigg, D Robins-Piotrowski, R Jenkin

Introduction: Advance care planning and Respect forms are useful tools in the care of patients in geriatric medicine. Prior projects locally in acute medicine identified gaps in engaging appropriate patients in advance care planning. This quality improvement project aims to improve the identification and completion of Respect forms and how this information is passed on to primary care. NICEQS13 states there must be evidence to support conversations and care planning with relevant care agencies to ensure coordinated care.

Methods: The Supportive and Palliative Care Indicator Tool (SPICT) was utilised to identify patients who would benefit from RESPECT forms. Patient notes were reviewed prospectively to see if RESPECT forms were completed during admission and discharge summaries assessed to determine whether RESPECT information was included and communicated to primary care. Following PDSA cycle 1 the medical team were provided with structured education in advance care planning and importance of communicating RESPECT forms to primary care. Reminder notes were attached to all computer work stations as an aid memoire when completing discharge summaries. Following cycle 2 there was a change of staffing and RESPECT form communication was included in the induction pack alongside further informal ward based teaching.
Results: Identification of patients needing advance care planning improved from 80% to 100% of these patients being discharged with Respect forms. In the initial data collection 8% of Respect forms were communicated to primary care. This improved to 96% by the third cycle with sustained improvement across junior doctor rotations.
Conclusion: A sustained education program for geriatric medicine staff led to an increase in communication of advance care planning to GP’s. The NICE QS13 standards have been met and the Method:ology will be transferrable to other departments in the hospital. A more integrated platform with primary care would help improve communication with primary care further.

This abstract from the BGS Autum Meeting 2021 begins by clearly defining the problem that their project targets.

It focuses on a relevant and important topic to geriatric medicine. There is also reference to relevant national guidance. The methods section defines two PDSA cycles demonstrating understanding and utilisation of QI methodology.

Numerical data is demonstrated in the results section giving an overview of the key results without being overwhelming with numbers.

Finally the conclusion gives a brief summary of the project and an idea for future improvement work.

Example 2

Introducing Treatment Escalation Plans (TEP) for older persons: Response to the COVID-19 pandemic – SJ Woolford, HP Patel
Introduction: TEP detail appropriate ceilings of care and guide treatment of patients based on shared decision making. TEP documentation was not standard within our trust up to 2018. We aimed to design and introduce a standardised TEP proforma and evaluate its use in older persons aged ≥80.
Methods: Data was obtained from patient notes and questionnaires within the Medicine for Older Persons department (MOP) from four PDSA cycles between 2018-2020. Cycle 1 was a service evaluation. Based on this data, a TEP form was created and approved for use in all adult patients. Cycles 2, 3 and 4 evaluated TEP after Introduction: of the proforma.
Results: There was a 239% increase in TEP after Introduction: of the proforma, compared to baseline (cycle 1: n=14/47 [29.8%], cycle 2: n=17/112 [15.2%], cycle 3: n=30/97 [30.9%], cycle 4: n=42/59 [71.2%]). The increase in TEP between cycles 3 and 4 coincided with the COVID-19 epidemic. Clinicians were more confident in actioning TEP based on the proforma, compared to those written in the notes (cycle 2: 83% confidence vs 54%, cycle 3: 100% vs 35%, Cycle 4: 98% vs none written in the notes). An improvement in understanding the purpose, comprehensiveness and location of TEP forms was observed. Feedback suggested TEP provided clear guidance for 1. ceilings of care; especially useful out of hours 2. discussions with critical care and 3. patient handover between staff and successive shifts.
Conclusion: TEP forms offer clear guidance on ceilings of care. Introduction: of the TEP proforma has led to more frequent and proactive discussions with patients on ceilings of care and have facilitated a culture change in the management of older persons. Use of the forms increased during the COVID-19 pandemic but are now viewed as an essential component of patient safety and have been successfully implemented trustwide.

This abstract, also from the BGS Autumn Meeting 2021, again reviews a project that is of interest and relevance to current geriatric medicine.

The aim of the project is clearly defined. The methods and results sections define four PDSA cycles and given numerical data to allow comparison.

This abstract is reviewed in more detail in a recent article in the BGS newsletter here.

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