This week is Experience of Care week, highlighting the work being done to improve the hospital experience for patients, families and staff.
Here at Mid Essex, patient listening events play a crucial role in understanding what we do well and the areas where patients feel their care could be improved.
Patient Experience invite current and former patients to the hospital to talk to staff one-on-one and give detailed feedback about their treatment. The patients are invited to discuss all aspects of their care and tell us where, if anywhere, they’d like to see change implemented.
The events began in 2015 and take place every two months, focusing on one division or department at a time.
Jonathan Wright, patient experience & voluntary services manager, explained the thinking behind the sessions: “The aim of the listening events is to understand what it’s like to be a patient here. To understand what would be an ideal experience, what patients would like to see our staff do more or less of, and what was good and bad about their care.
“We share the good feedback with the teams and if it’s not so good we look at how we could improve, and then we feed that back.
“The information from the sessions gets put into a presentation for the senior management team of that department or division. Quite often it’s the same themes that come through; information, communication and waiting times.
“As a direct result of feedback from women at a maternity listening event, the team have trained more midwives to provide hypnobirthing, extended the hours that partners can stay and recruited two midwives who will champion a ‘back to basics’ approach that will include improving the communication.”
All patients who attend a listening event will be sent a summary of what was discussed at the session, and are told what plans have been put in place subsequently.
“With our listening events, I think we’re ahead of many other Trusts. We know from talking to other Trusts that they don’t do this,” Jonathan says. “Using information from national surveys, you lose that personal touch. When you’re sitting with someone for two hours, you’re going to understand what really matters.”
Stewart Cooper, associate director of operations for the St Andrew’s centre, and Judith Harriott, senior sister on Burns ITU, took part in the latest burns and plastics listening event and both regarded it as a valuable experience.
“These events are hugely important,” said Stewart. “Taking a couple of hours to really get to the heart of patient stories and to attentively listen to what they’re telling us is so important to how we shape our services and how we make things better, for both patients and staff. I was pleasantly surprised at how amazingly positive the patients were about the experiences they’d had.”
Judith added: “What we as staff regard as important for patient experience is not necessarily what the patient recognises as important for their hospital stay. There can be a disconnect between the two and it’s great we’re addressing that.”