Evening clouds

Evening clouds
Sunshine and Clouds

Friday, 31 January 2014

Making a difference - being creative with the environment and your care

Today was scheduled to be a day off; possibly a lie-in then potter about. The news the night before of a older relative having had a stroke a couple of days before led to a busman's holiday drive across southern England to see them. Before leaving I was able to read the leaflet about the relevant stroke unit, and find details about the car parking charges; a plus mark of the internet.
So we set off  and in good time arrived at the hospital though 20 min early. We were ushered to the Day Room - visiting time had not started. Of course this set me thinking, the @wenurses tweetchat had discussed visiting times the previous evening; follow the link to read more, including the pre-chat information from @wlasinclair .

We complied with the request to wait and so entered a room that looked like this in one corner -
the opposite corner housed a large TV playing to no-one.

Not a great first impression and certainly not  a safe patient friendly space; nor welcoming for visitors. The label inevitably said 'broken'; I wondered how long it had been there.

There was no easily readable information for visitors, i.e. a map to show the location of the toilets, tell us where the cafe was and so on.
This notice board was inaccessible.

Inside the door was this notice - 


all nicely ironic and the poor grammar seems to indicate we're all Sisters now.

Once we were at the appointed kick-off time we ventured to the Reception desk, and it took a few minutes for us to be asked 'are you OK?' This despite a plethora of staff around the central station; none had easily readable badges. I just had to go on who was wearing fob watches or stethoscopes; a staff nurse did help and showed us where our relative was.
Of course we were limited to two visitors at a time; within minutes though this became problematic when their friends arrived; this is after all a very sociable person who enjoys a good party even though they're 90 plus! I suppose I wouldn't mind the limited visiting and two relatives at a time if the rationale was clearly explained in the literature, by diagrams or by someone tasked with ensuring visitors knew the 'house rules'.
Getting to the bedside we were able to begin to chatting and having taken my drawing pad, we made progress with communication. Of course were relieved to see our person dressed and sitting up; there were a selection of leaflets for them to read - left out of reach on the bed. A nurse on duty for the afternoon passed the #hellomynameis... (thanks to @GrangerKate for this idea) test; as did the speech and language therapist.
Here we were shown the three side of A4 that had been left earlier asking questions about our relative; the SALT team wanted to know more about them. 
Oh how I wished I could have shown them a one page profile; we had fun however altogether completing the form, though were left wondering how widely it would be shared. I hope it will be; there has been a lot of life lived by our relative, around the world. The developing #facetoaname idea would help here too.
During the visiting hiatus caused by the physios - (why restrict visiting?) I had a look at a notice board that showed safety data graphs from a year ago; a 'You said ... We did' poster that was blank and some quotes with codes numbers that were meant to be patient and visitor feedback. Opposite at a drunken angle as its Blu Tac was wearing out was a certificate from 2009 given to the ward team from the hospital management team.
l must acknowledge my bias and perhaps more detailed knowledge than the usual visitor; none-the-less what appeared to be a well staffed ward was not looking at the details. At least not always the right ones; whilst we went back to the Day Room during the physio session, a tidy soul put away our visitors chairs: we had to retrieve them. 
I would ask, and I think I will have to pass on this feedback to the ward, that someone looks again at how you present yourselves as a team, your environment, and demonstrating newer ways of working. 
For a lively mind now hopefully only temporarily caged by impaired speech a one page profile would make a difference; give them a relief from the frustrations of their situation as others can share their life. In looking at the ward environment I hope the ward team can demonstrate how their commitment, courage, care, competence, compassion and communication makes a difference to those they are looking after.



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