Patient Experience Week is a global celebration held in the last week of April every year. During the week a series of events and activities that take place focusing on the patient experience.
Patient Experience Week is an opportunity to showcase all the work that has been going on throughout the year to understand and improve the experience of our patients and their whānau, and to also encourage engagement with our community. This helps us to set the scene for the rest of the year and keeps the focus on our Board priorities of improving health outcomes and patient experience.
What have we done?
For Patient Experience Week April 2017 we wanted to make sure that all the activities were really meaningful to our different populations and services, and things that they could get involved in – more ‘local’ activity rather than formal, corporate lectures and events.
A number of activities were held across the week, with teams across the organisation collaborating to deliver fun, engaging and memorable events.
Members of the Senior Management Team (SMT) visited wards and services to get a better understanding of the positive work that’s being done to enhance patient experience.
Wards and services were prepared for the visits and embraced the opportunity to share initiatives that they have implemented or areas they are working on improving.
“Had discussions with the Charge Nurse in Emergency Department and the Assessment Diagnostic Unit, this gave me great insight in to their service and I think they both appreciated my visit.” SMT member
“All were ready and waiting for me to visit and I was so humbled by all the great work that is going on and the flexibility and adaptability of services to ensure they meet the needs of their patients.” SMT member
Our younger patients from Rangatira Ward, Emergency Department and the Wilson Centre took part in a colouring competition. The artwork was displayed in the main entrances of both North Shore and Waitakere Hospitals.
The event bought together our community as we saw patients, visitors and staff vote for their favourite pictures. About 2000 stickers were used in the voting process and six lucky patients each received a $25 gift voucher.
We wanted to share with our patients, the good work our staff are doing with patient feedback from the Family and Friends Test. A simple and easy way to reach our audience is through meal tray mats.
Feedback from patients who had read the mats was positive. In terms of the content, patients enjoyed reading about initiatives that wards have implemented to improve patient experience, attempting the Sudoku puzzle, learning about our volunteers, the Well Foundation, joining our online community panel ‘Reo Ora Health Voice’ and how to have a say about our services.
Fun facts were displayed around Waitakere and North Shore hospitals.
The facts were linked to our Waitemata DHB values and the intention was to raise awareness of the positive things happening within our Waitemata DHB community in a fun and engaging way.
The facts have been positively received, and remind staff and our community about the scale of our organisation and the diverse population we serve.
The facts have helped to raise the profile of the Well Foundation and reinforced that money raised is spent on initiatives that improve service delivery and enhance patient experience.
There were two Empathy Zone sessions, one at Waitakere Hospital and one at North Shore Hospital. Six stations were set up to simulate everyday challenges that some of our patients experience and get people thinking about these difficulties.
The event was attended by staff, patients, families and members of the public. The activity simulations ranged from dysphagia, hearing voices, sensory loss, visual impairments and visual perceptual difficulties. All stations were well attended.
- 100% of participants agree that an Empathy Zone is a good way to raise awareness of these experiences
- 83% strongly agree that the experience has given them a better understanding of what people go through on a daily basis (n=29)
Feedback was extremely positive by all participants and some people sought out experiences that were particularly meaningful to their families or their patient groups:
“We teach patients how to dress themselves after having a stroke, but I never really imagined how difficult or restrictive it is. I can imagine that just getting up to the toilet would be hard because you’re not able to close your gown properly, which means you’re completely reliant on others”
“My dad has glaucoma, can you show me what it’s like to see the world as he sees it”
“Wow, I give my patients thickened fluids every day, no wonder they’re reluctant to drink them”
Staff members from across the organisation took part in a meet and greet session to welcome patients and visitors to our hospital.
Participants who took part in the event described it as a highly useful experience which helped them appreciate the valuable contribution volunteers make to enhance Patient Experience.
The staff saw first-hand the challenges our patients and visitors face when they arrive at hospital including:
- letters not matching signage
- letters being service centric rather than patient centric
“It was obvious that the volunteer role is a very valuable one. At Waitakere in particular it was clear that without the greeting and wayfinding there would be a lot of visitors in a state of confusion.” Staff, Waitemata DHB
Consumer representatives joined Frontline Focus (Senior Nurse Leadership meeting) to talk about how we can work better with patients, consumers and the wider community.
One consumer representative talked about her experience as a patient with autism. She explained the difficulties she has understanding both verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as over-or under-sensitivity. She also explained how she carries a guide to help health professionals understand how best to support and work with her, and what will help her to stay calm and keep her from getting too agitated.
» View more information and guidance about autism
A second consumer rep talked about her role on projects and steering groups, and how she provides advice based on either her own personal experience of services or care, or on behalf of others. As an experienced consumer representative, she has been able to bring a consumer perspective to focus just as other members of the group bring theirs, improve health outcomes for consumers and health service providers and ensure the more disadvantaged and marginalised members of the community are considered during the planning process.
» View more information about Augmentative Alternative Communivation (AAC)
The 15 steps challenge was undertaken using a series of questions and prompts to guide teams through understanding how patients feel about the care provided. It was created after the mother of a patient in a hospital said “I can tell what kind of care my daughter will get within 15 steps of walking on to the ward”.
Staff from across the organisation (including Executive Leaders and a Board member) undertook the challenge in an area or specialty outside their team or service. All reported the value of the experience in enhancing awareness of the “surrogate markers of quality”. Patients and whānau may not know if they are getting good clinical care, but they do know if an area is clean and welcoming, what it feels and sounds like, and whether they will feel safe and cared for.
Written feedback has been provided to the areas visited. Charge Nurses highly value the input from colleagues and the “reviewers” report an increased awareness of the range of services and environments we provide care in and a heightened sense of taking responsibility for working on the first cues to high quality care in their own ward or area.
“Mother arrived at 10.30 thinking her appointment was at that time however she was half an hour late. They still managed to accommodate the appointment. Impressive! ”
“Patients love having access to the garden and commented on how busy nurses are every day-“Don’t forget about the hardworking front line staff”-one patient exclaimed.”
“Registrars and nurses conversing well, and with respect for each other. I overheard a handover given by a nurse to another nurse on the ward. It was thorough and easily followed, good coordination of timings of transfer and who was organising what for the transfer.”
Did we make a difference?
From both a patient and staff perspective Patient Experience Week was a huge success. It was a great way to maintain enthusiasm among our staff, get people really focused on patient experience, and encourage ongoing engagement with our community. It is hoped that our next annual Patient Experience Week will be held regionally with other Auckland DHBs.