Involving users in the development and evaluation of services is an indispensable way of ensuring quality healthcare provision (Help the Hospices, 2013). Our aim was to create a Service User Group that would become an important resource for the hospice and to try to identify the extra things that would make a difference for our patients’ experience.
Over the last 18 months our group has been pivotal in introducing the following new initiatives:
Just in Case folders – Patients are now discharged home with a folder for district nurses that contains injectable medication, a prescription chart, advice on medication and a satisfaction survey.
Personalising the bed space – patients asked for a way to personalise their bed space with photos and personal items. A magnetic board is now at each bedside for patients’ personal use.
Patient Information Booklet – a detailed information booklet of who’s who and daily hospice life is now at each patient’s bedside, this has been written by the user group.
Mugs – Our hospice mugs for patient and visitors were very plain; we now plan to introduce a variety of styles of mugs.
A medication chart – is currently under development, to help patients to monitor their medication on discharge.
Our recommendations from working with this group are:
Start small and build on this, even if you only have one service user their contribution can be invaluable
The user group needs to be promoted locally via web page, Facebook, Twitter and the local press
Create a lively useful agenda with speakers
Ensure actions are taken forward and fed back at the next meeting
Ensure the group remains in the forefront of colleagues’ minds as they create new leaflets or change their services.
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