Capturing the views of service users is now seen as an essential component of the quality assurance process. The challenge is to capture these views in a meaningful way. Marie Curie Hospice Edinburgh used an art-based approach known as ‘Graffiti Boards’ to elicit feedback. A Graffiti Board1 is a billboard to which participants are invited to add a contribution about any aspect of the hospice. Graffiti can be pictorial or verbal and is a creative way for patients, visitors, volunteers and staff to share their thoughts. For 1 week, in April 2009, all who stepped into The Edinburgh Hospice were invited to add graffiti to boards placed in patient areas and the staff room. The art therapist worked with those patients unable to contribute independently. Four themes emerged: (1) descriptions of the hospice or contributor, (2) comments about purpose (what happens here?), (3) images, and (4) constructive criticism. Patient contributions were overwhelmingly positive while staff comments revealed stress and tension. A visual presentation of the results enabled management to understand this contrast and introduce measures to support staff. Graffiti Boards are an engaging way to capture the views of all service users, including those who might not respond to traditional surveys. They offer an anonymous but public means for giving feedback. Some patients and visitors were reluctant to add negative comments. However, this innovative approach allows staff views to be heard, which improves management understanding. The project will be repeated to monitor progress.
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