Obtaining feedback from service users is crucial in the current NHS. In paediatrics this may be the views of children, young people or their carers.
Previously we had a regular parents forum held on the ward. However people are becoming increasingly busy and attendance dropped. We needed to look at different ways of engaging with our families and social media became the obvious choice.
We thus set up a facebook group for parents. This is a closed group, to ensure security and allows our families to communicate with each other and with ourselves. Our children’s ward, like most, encourages family centred care and has open visiting for parents and facilities for them to stay overnight if required.
Families who are rushed into children’s wards with their sick children often forget about themselves. The forum suggested having an honesty box in the parents room with a supply of snack food that families can access without having to leave the ward.They also suggested and have sourced toiletry packs (male and female) containing emergency supplies.
The parents forum have also been involved in discussions of how to improve the parents’ room.
There is much more scope for future discussions and above all we have noticed dialogue between the parents who seem to be able to provide support for each other. Many of the members have children with long term conditions who require frequent hospital admissions.
Encouraging feedback from those that use our service regularly is important. Allowing them to be active participants allows them some ownership in making improvements to THEIR ward in helping it to become a home from home for those that unfortunately have to spend a lot of time there. We are grateful for their support.