Providing Geriatric care is a privilege. Individuals entering their final years of their life, and their loved ones, need to know that should they need the service of our hospital they will be treated with the upmost care and compassion.
Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust chose to invite previous patients who had used the services to share their experiences, both positive and negative, at a series of storytelling events. The Quality For All Trust Values was developed from the findings of these events: producing a set of expectations for all staff and a promise to all service users to ensure that these values were embedded into the organisation.
I became Interim Matron for the geriatric and stroke service in July 2014 and I noted that many of these patients were unable to attend the previous events due to their frailty or their lack of cognition, so I decided to arrange an event using the same storytelling format for carers and relatives of patients.
The event was supported by Head of Service for Geriatrics, the geriatric ward sisters and their teams. They embraced the opportunity to be able to listen and understand the needs of their patients, carers and relatives. The Patient Advice and Liaison Service department provided support in coordinating the events.
The information that emerged from the event was collated and developed into a report, which has been shared with the ward sisters and they in turn have disseminated the information to their ward teams.
Much of the findings mirrored what had previously been identified in the other events: the areas that were considered to require a more focused approach are being acted on. Three key changes that have been made:
- Communication was considered one of the key elements, so ward sisters have increased their visibility and have expanded the leadership rounds already undertaken as part of the care and comfort initiative.
- Staff have been made increasingly aware of the need to involve the carers and relatives in the care planning process.
- The “This is Me” document produced by the Alzheimer’s society is becoming embedded into all the wards, promoting it's use and completion while utilising the information provided to facilitate an individualised care plan.
I consider everyone who has the privilege to work with this client group highly fortunate, myself included. We have the opportunity to ensure that the care and compassion we give to these patients who are entering their final years, is second to none.