#ExpOfCare blog: An opportunity that was a gift!

Thursday 30th March 2017 by @MichaelaTait8

I heard about ‘Experiences of Care’ (#ExpofCare) week, which took place from 20th - 24th March, through my NHS networks and Twitter. It was described as ‘a week of activity to celebrate all the fabulous things we do to improve patient/family/carers and staff experiences’. I have the privilege of being the Patient Experience Manager at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (MKUH), so for me this opportunity was a gift.

As a Trust we get approximately. 8,000 pieces of patient feedback a quarter, mostly through the Friends and Family Test (FFT) but also through social media, thank you cards and letters and PALS contacts. It was apparent that although we already share a number of these comments (e.g. in  our chief executive’s weekly newsletter), the content of the numerous FFT cards does not always reach the frontline staff. Celebrating the positive  is essential, so starting in #ExpofCare week, we ‘tweeted’ positive comments from patients thoughout the week, ensuring all departments and teams got a mention. This was very well received by staff and patients and so will be repeated.



Any FFT comment received with a staff member named is sent to them directly. Clinical staff can use the comments for re-validation  and non-clinical colleagues can use comments for their appraisals.  – Ultimately, the feedback is to recognise that they are appreciated for the work they do. andhappy staff equals happy patients, so the link to staff experience is key.

Activities during #ExpofCare week included us carrying out a ’15 Steps Challenge’ visit to two of our wards areas on the Monday. This challenge is something we undertake regularly at the hospital and involves a diverse team of clinical and non-clinical staff members, Non-Executive Directors, Governors, and other stakeholders visiting a ward to take in all the sensory elements of a patient’s experience that often would not get reported elsewhere. For example, we ask ourselves ‘how did the wards feel?’.  It is the ‘gut feelings’ and the insight that others bring that can create ‘real time’ opportunities to improve. Staff enjoy taking part and it gives insight in the wider activity of the Trust and how they contribute.

The staff experience and patient experience link was a theme evident throughout the Patient Experience Network (PEN) Awards, which took place on the Tuesday of #ExpofCare week. I attended as a judge and as always it was an utterly inspiring day; an opportunity to meet up with likeminded people and hear about the wonderful initiatives others have put in place to improve experiences. As always there was a lot to learn and share.

Wednesday brought the NHS Improvement ‘Patient Powered Improvement’ Conference, an inspiring day where we heard from a wide range of speakers including our peers,  the CQC and the Point of Care Foundation (PoCF) as well as a patient leader who reminded us all what ‘real engagement’ and involvement with patients really means. This was a time to reflect on what we can do better. At MKUH on Wednesday there was the launch of the ‘Dementia Café’ where patients were invited to join staff,friends and family to share tea and home-made cakes in a beautiful environment, away from the wards which allowed them to talk and reminisce. The feedback has been excellent and the café will be a regular part of the care we offer to appropriate patients. 

Thursday brought the main activity to MKUH and an opportunity to showcase what we are doing well. We set up an information stand in our restaurant to ensure we were able to speak to as many staff, patients and visitors as possible. The stand displayed positive comments on two A1 posters.