On 4th May 2011 the Patients Association officially launched their new South West office. The event took place at the University of Plymouth with a keynote speech from Angela Rippon, Vice President of the Patients Association. It attracted considerable media attention and was attended by representatives from the South West Strategic Health Authority, local Trusts, the Care Quality Commission, the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service, patients, carers and the public.
Since the Launch of the SW Regional Initiative in May it has been gaining some momentum. Our south west regional managers spent their first few weeks attending various meetings and events to raise the profile of the Patients Association in the south west.
In May we ran two listening events in response to the Government NHS Reforms and a report was produced.
In June we also held an event for 25 potential new Ambassadors who we had met during our initial promotional work and who had expressed an interest in being involved on a voluntary basis. The meeting was well received and provided information about the Ambassador role and the new projects being set up.
By July we had moved on from initial promotional work to identify specific projects. Our regional directors had also met with all the Directors of Nursing or Head of Patients Experience across all 18 acute Trusts in the south west. They have been warmly welcomed with lots of ideas about how the Patient Association with its independent voice can work with Trusts to improve patient experience.
Below are are some examples of the work undertaken in the South West by our South West Office.
Improving Dementia Care in the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
The Patients Association has been asked to work in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Society to carry out a series of interviews with patients and carers to gather feedback about what their experience of care has been during their stay in hospital. Using a set of interview questions based on the South west Dementia Standards Heather and Teresa’s Parson from the Alzheimer’s Society and two trained volunteers have been interviewing patients and family members on the wards during August. A report with findings will be produced by Heather for the Trust and as a result of this the hospital is keen to put in action plan to make the improvements suggested. This will then be presented to the South west Dementia Partnership Expert Reference group for rollout across the south west using the learning from this pilot.
Improving patient experience in Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
In order to obtain an objective viewpoint and enable patients to freely express their views Heather and a trained volunteer will be randomly asking 10 patients per ward about their stay in hospital. This will done using an electronic pad which will easily be able to analyse the data. Heather will write a report about the findings with some recommendations to influence action plans for service improvement at a local level (i.e. ward/community hospital) and at a Trust wide level which includes acute and community hospitals. If successful then this will continue to be carried out on a regular basis throughout the Trust by a pool of trained volunteers as a method to gain independent feedback from patients and carers to impact upon future service delivery.
The Patient and Carer perspective of Intentional Rounding in Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
The Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is currently implementing intentional rounding on all wards in the hospital. Intentional rounding is a structured method to check patients to ensure that they are pain free, comfortable, check skin condition and address any nutritional or toileting needs. By doing these checks on every patient every two hours this has real benefits for patients and has been shown to reduce call bell use, falls and numbers of concerns and complaints those patients may have. The hospital is keen to gain feedback from patients about their experience of this and in order to obtain an objective viewpoint Heather and a trained will be interviewing patients and carers on a sample of wards. If successful then this could be mainstreamed as a method to gain independent feedback from patients and carers to impact upon future service delivery. We have also been fortunate in gaining the professional support and advice from Prof Ruth Endacott from the University of Plymouth in this project.
Carers awareness Training – Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
An exciting project in Yeovil has resulted in the Patients Association linking up with Carers UK and a carers a rollout of carers awareness training sessions initially on 4 awards as a pilot during Oct and Nov and then with a plan to rollout this to all staff across the hospital including doctors, therapists and housekeeping staff . Julie Vance , Deputy Director has said how excited she is about this project as has the Caroline Toll from Carers Uk who said “ I have been trying to find a way to do this for the last ten years!”. Planning meetings have already taken place and carers will be facilitating the training in pairs with handouts produced and credit card sized cards with simple messages to staff already being printed!
These are just some of the projects where the Patients Association can make a real difference to the patient experience and we are very excited about the potential of this new regional role. It enables us to be much more responsive to local needs and work proactively with local NHS and Social Care to find solutions.