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How to take Stories


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This page will take you through the process of supporting someone to share their feedback. Please read through this sheet carefully to prepare for taking feedback from patients/service users or carers.

How do I support someone to share their story on Care Opinion?

There are two ways to support someone to share their story on Care Opinion:

1. By sitting with the person at a computer or with an iPad & supporting them through the process to submit their story directly to the Care Opinion website.

2. If you do not have internet access, you can take notes using the “Taking a Story Form”  whilst you are sat with the story teller, before then submitting the story to Care Opinion on behalf of the story teller (when you do have internet access.)

Before you begin:

It’s important to consider and prepare for the following three aspects before starting to collect feedback…

Environment: You may be in a hospital, an office or a waiting room. It’s important that the story teller and yourself feel comfortable, both with the conversation and the environment. So, it’s helpful to find a quiet, safe space, where the story teller can talk openly and in confidence. You’ll be taking feedback using the “Taking a Story Form” or with an iPad/computer, so you may want to find somewhere comfortable to sit too.

Introduction: Always introduce yourself and explain your role. Explain that you are collecting feedback about the health or social care organisation that you are working with. Explain that the feedback is important to the service, the staff that work there and health and social care commissioners, inspectors and regulators. These groups of people will be able to read this anonymous feedback on the Care Opinion website in order to monitor and improve care.

Explanation: Explain what Care Opinion is. For this, you may find it helpful to have the FAQ page with you (step 1). You should explain that Care Opinion is an independent, public website, that makes it safe and simple for people to share honest, anonymous feedback about their care. Care Opinion supports the NHS and other healthcare services to learn from feedback and give patients and service users a voice. Care Opinion sends the feedback to the service and invites the service to respond to people’s stories publicly, to learn from feedback and improve services for everyone.

Step by Step Conversation guide:

1. Introduce who you are, and start to explain why you are collecting feedback (as explained above). At this point, it’s helpful to try and get an idea about how much time the person is comfortable about giving. See example below:"Hi there, my name is… I’m talking to patients today on behalf of…who really want to hear about your experience of care and treatment at… Would you like to tell me about your experience here, whether it’s been positive or negative? This will be your anonymous feedback and will go on Care Opinion which is a public website independent from the NHS.”

2. There are no specific questions that need to be asked, but if the person needs some help, then clear, open ended questions can be asked to find out what’s important to them about their care, and what had an impact, whether that was positive or negative.Remember the purpose of sharing feedback is to share information that is of value to the service because it will help them know what they are doing really well and/or where they need to improve.See example below:

“During your treatment, what really stood out to you that was helpful?Were there any parts that could be improved? Do you have any suggestions?”

3. Simple, open ended questions are really helpful, don’t be afraid to ask “why?”. The most helpful stories are the ones that go into detail. See example below:

“You said you felt safe and well cared for, what was it that made you feel that way?”

4. There may be key themes that people wish to discuss, or the service you are collecting feedback for may have asked you to collect feedback about a certain theme on a particular day, such as waiting times or group therapy. Remember that each person will be motivated to share their story for different reasons, whether it’s because they have personally been affected by an experience of care, or because they wish to comment on service changes locally or nationally. All this feedback is helpful and important. If the story teller can’t think of much to say, ideas for themes to comment on can be suggested, such as: Communication, Staff,Cleanliness, Appointment Wait, Empathy, Explanations, Waiting room, Environment, Treatment etc.

5. The Story Teller’s Details You will need to ask for a few details from the story teller, these details are important and it is very helpful if you explain to them that none of these details will be passed on to the service and stories shared are completely anonymous. The details required are written on the “taking a story form” for you to fill in. If you have an iPad/computer, the story telling process will prompt you to fill these details in as you go through. Here’s a little more info about the details we require so that you can answer any questions the story teller may have:

Why do we ask for a…

  • Username: All stories are anonymous and so we require a username, this can be almost anything as long as it isn’t their real name, or offensive. e.g. “rugbyfan33”.
  • Postcode: This is kept confidential. If the person does not have a post code, the post code of the service can be added instead
  • Name of service/s: So that the feedback is sent to the right service & staff, Care Opinion need to know the exact names of the service/s that the story is about. Remember, a story can be about multiple services throughout someone’s care journey.
  • Email Address: We require an email address so we that we can tell the story teller when their story is published, or has a response as well as to signpost them if needed. Again, this information is kept confidential. If they do not have an email address, simply write their username and then e.g.
  • Consent:  The story teller must have consented to their story being published on Care Opinion as it is a public website. Once their story is published it will be visible to anyone on the website. (They can however withdraw their story at any time should they wish).

6. Thankyou. Finally, remember to thank the story teller and explain what will happen next. See example below:

Thank you so much for taking your time to share your feedback today. We’ll be adding your story to the Care Opinion site soon and you’ll receive an email once your story has been published & again if the service responds to your story. Do come back to the website to respond further to your story, or add a new story in future”.

When you have read through all the information on these sheets, you can begin to take feedback from people. Remember to use the “Taking a Story Form”  (step 4) to collect feedback. After that you can use the form and the instructions in step 5 to submit the story to the Care Opinion website.

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