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Care Opinion, RCHT Improvement Journey – 1 Year On

Update from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

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About: Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

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Hello, my name is Michaela Brewer and I am the Patient Experience Co-ordinator at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT). As an organisation we are in the process of an improvement journey and really want to embrace learning from feedback, to change the culture, improving the services we provide for our patients and listening to our staff to implement a more positive and supportive working environment. 

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It has been an eventful year within the Patient and Family Experience Team and one of our biggest adventures has been rolling out Care Opinion throughout our Trust. This all started with an inspirational learning session from James Munro back in January 2018 and I think it is safe to say our team were hooked from then on…

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Then came the reality of publishing a response on a public website; with every response you are representing the Trust and naturally there are nerves as you do not want to say the wrong thing. Most of all you want the response to mean something to the individual who has taken the time to share their story. There must be nothing more frustrating than receiving a generic response and knowing that your feedback has not really been listened too, shared or taken on board. Like everything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the wonderful Care Opinion team are always there with extra support. I have made full use of the amazing webinars they offer to their subscribers and cannot recommend them enough to anyone who wants to respond and get the most out of Care Opinion, including alerts, reporting, digests and visualisations. They are so informative and really give you the confidence to respond. The Care Opinion team are also always contactable by email and like us are big fans of Twitter

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Around this time last year, it was Experience of Care Week and we wanted to take the opportunity to promote Care Opinion to staff, our patients and their family and friends. We were lucky enough to have received some fab promotional materials from Care Opinion as part of our subscription. Armed with posters, direct ask cards and freepost feedback leaflets we started spreading the word. Knowing that we would be receiving more stories on the site I also wanted to make sure that all the individuals that had already shared their experiences had their stories read, shared with the relevant staff and been responded too. Noticing the responses I was posting, Sarah from Care Opinion emailed me to say that they were making me the days Care Opinion Hero!! This made my day, I really appreciated the recognition and this encouraged me to continue responding

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Our Patient Experience Manager, Jenny Thomas and I then put together ‘Responder’ training for staff as we wanted key people from each ward, department and service to be able to read and respond to their own feedback. We are passionate that it means so much more to the individuals sharing their experiences when their response comes directly from the teams involved. We wanted to give the staff confidence in responding but with training that was not too time consuming as the majority of staff also work clinically and patient care, treatment and safety will understandably always be priority. We produced a clear and concise guide, which provides a brief explanation of Care Opinion, links to the website and James Munro’s blog; it also includes examples of responses and we used the ‘Good practice in responding’ diagram to help staff make sure they are including all they can in their responses. In order to become a responder staff must then complete a short exercise, where they read a story and the response, and using the ‘good practice’ diagram note what makes it a good response and where it could be improved. We also offer bespoke 1-1 training when required. Once completed, their access is upgraded from subscriber to responder and they receive a lovely certificate. We have a wide range of staff who are trained responders including: Heads of Nursing, Matrons, Ward Managers, Heads of Departments, Ward Clerks and Nurses to name just a few. We never underestimate the importance of the feedback being heard and shared at every level.

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We use our Twitter page @RCHTPtExp to share the stories we receive; Jess Saunders our wonderful administrator who manages our page designed some fabulous slides and ensures that as many staff as possible get to see the feedback we receive. Please follow us and take a look! We also have the Care Opinion Widget on our Trust’s web page which gives a live feed of all of our latest stories!

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Where we are now? We are now super proud to say that we have 205 members of staff listening on Care Opinion and 65 of them are now trained responders. 356 stories have been shared on Care Opinion for our Trust in the last year and 100% of these stories has been shared with the relevant staff and have received a response; 14 of these stories have resulted in a change being planned within the service or even better a change has already been made as a direct result of the service user’s feedback. Our Care Opinion Stories and responses are often shared with our Trust’s Board, who just like us are big fans and love the difference the feedback shared can make, not only to improve our services but also there is nothing better than so many positive stories being shared with staff to show them what a difference their care and compassion makes on a daily basis. I have even provided bespoke training to our Chairwoman and members of our Non-Executive Director team; this just shows the importance and high regard Care Opinion has within RCHT.

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The future… We will be continuing to promote Care Opinion throughout our services and share the feedback posted with relevant staff. Our commitment to respond to every story posted will remain a priority and we aim to train as many staff as possible to become responders in the year ahead. We also want to make sure that all of our staff are represented including junior doctors, consultants, AHPs and students. The importance of patient and family feedback is increasingly being recognised by the NHS as a whole and we in the Patient and Family Experience Team at RCHT will always strive to make sure that all voices are heard to help shape our future. To follow our progress please look out for our future blogs and of course follow us on twitter!

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