Patient experience is something that is talked about a lot in the NHS. I think that most would say that the quality of clinical care that they receive is very good or excellent in the vast majority of cases.
But what about the overall patient experience? I guess that a good patient experience will mean different things to different people. Although I spent my time in the NHS in Finance, I was more than happy to be on the front line when it was my weeks on the on call rota.
In a busy A&E department or ward when people are under a lot of pressure it is so easy to feel like you are jumping from one thing to the next. When this happens some basic things that would make the patient experience better are often overlooked. Things like:
Keeping patients and relatives informed of what is happening. Sometimes there are delays which most appreciate. However what causes anxiety is when people are just left and are in the dark. I don’t know how many times a quick update to what was going on helped re-assure patients and relatives.
Making a patient feel welcomed when they arrive on a ward. There were a few instances when if I were the patient I would have felt that I was more of a nuisance than anything else.
Making sure everyone does their bit in the overall process. Sometimes there are avoidable delays that arise just because someone has not been proactive enough ahead of a patient arriving. For example, when it is totally obvious that the patient will need a support package in place before they can be discharged from hospital.
Patients in my experience understand that staff are under a lot of pressure. At the same time they expect, not unreasonably that the basics will be done well.
So what simple changes could you make in your organisation to facilitate an even better patient experience?
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