• Local hospitals improve information for patients

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    December 04, 2019
    Clinicians at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) have been working hard to improve the quality of information that is given to patients.

    Often a major theme within the feedback received from visitors, ward staff have recently focused upon enhancing communication with patients, introducing a number of initiatives to ensure that individuals know what to expect during their hospital stay. 

    The first part of this work was the adoption of wipe-clean bedside folders within the majority of inpatient areas. These 36-page booklets cover everything from staff uniforms and day-to-day ward activities, to instructions on how to access the organisation’s free Wi-Fi and other facilities. Known as ‘Sharing How We Care for You’, these folders have proven to be incredibly popular, with over 500 delivered across the Trust’s wards and services.

    Building upon this innovation, the team have also refreshed the boards hung above each patient bed. Also wipe-clean, these poster-sized white-boards contain key pieces of information about the person being looked after, providing clarity on things like their preferred name, mobility and dietary requirements at a glance, improving care and treatment in the process.

    The final piece of work was to overhaul the Trust’s ward ‘welcome boards’, which are positioned at the entrance to all inpatient areas.

    With each sign now bespoke and tailored to respective services, these boards introduce visitors to the ward environment, giving an overview of things like who works there, what tests may be carried out and the discharge process. Once again, this is all about preparing patients, relatives and carers for a hospital stay by ensuring that they are well informed and that they understand what to expect in their respective area.

    Moreover, the boards, which have been designed by local graphic designer Ben Cutler, include QR codes that can be scanned, taking you to even more useful information and avoiding the need for leaflets, which can become out-of-date.

    Cindy Storer, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals at the Trust, said: “Staying overnight in a hospital can be a nerve-racking experience at the best of times, especially if you’re not familiar with the ins-and-outs of a ward environment. The yearlong piece of work we have been doing on bedside information, bed boards and ward welcome boards all aim to improve communication and in turn improve patient safety and experience, in a meaningful person-centred way. We want all of our patients, relatives and carers to feel welcome and part of the ward team.”

    All of this improvement work has been very well received at the Trust, and the forward-thinking approach was recently recognised at the latest Patient Safety Learning Awards in London. Collecting the ‘Shared Learning’ prize, the DBTH team were lauded for all of the above innovations, in addition to other projects, such as setting up an annual patient safety conference, producing a monthly newsletter focused on clinical learning, as well as running separate campaigns to ensures that patients get enough sleep, have protected mealtimes and extending visiting hours on wards.

    It is hoped that, by doing all of this, the Patient Safety team will oversee a decrease in the number of serious incidents reported at the Trust, as well as see an increase in positive feedback.
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