I have a passion for improving patient experience, I loved my previous job at NHS England where I got to focus on working with children, young people and their families along with maternity service users, to improve their experiences of care.
Our world has changed hugely in the last 102 days and things are being established, PPE is being delivered, ITU capacity extended, staff are being trained and redeployed, staff wellbeing is being focused on, so my mind has shifted to patient experience, what’s happening to address this?
It was last Saturday morning at about 7am, I was sitting in my living room with the sun streaming through the window and mug of freshly brewed steaming coffee at hand, skimming through twitter, scanning for snippets me of information that may catch my eye. My phone rang ‘Kath, it’s my mum she had chemo on Thursday and now she’s spiked a temperature, dad says she’s having a funny turn’ well as you can imagine after a brief conversation, my friend got in her car, and ensured her mum was safely transported to hospital for antibiotics and admission. That’s where things got a bit challenging.
My friend’s mum had turned up with a mobile and charger, but was feeling pretty rubbish. Staff understandably, focused on caring for patients and contact with relatives was limited to once a day, my friend uncertain about what was happening was awake for 38 hours, she was totally beside herself with worry. Her mum was and is receiving great care, but it got me thinking what can we do about situations like this? Can we do better?
One of the 1st things we did, which was really simple, was remind people to bring in mobile phones/devices and chargers with key numbers with them when they are admitted – we got this on our Trust website. Some Trusts have developed teams of family liaison people to help maintain contact, @MichaelaTait8 is tweeting about the great work at Milton Keynes, do give her a follow!
The team at Chelsea and Westminster shared a great poster on communicating with relatives, an amazing resource for staff working in unfamiliar environments.
A conversation got started on twitter this week too about what we’d say to relatives to reassure them at this time – the responses were fabulous, here are some…
And of course sadly there will be difficult conversations ahead, this really helpful guidance from the University of Oxford shared by RCPCH is well worth reading and sharing when talking to children about the death of a loved one.
Over the weeks ahead many more examples will emerge, do follow the Heads of Patient Experience network, who tweet using the hashtag #HOPENetwork @lgoodbu is a great follow for inspiration, as is @clairem7523.
So as we work vitally to get all the technical stuff right in the weeks and months ahead, let’s keep sharing the work that people are doing to improve experiences, these memories will stay with people forever.
Happy Easter all x