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Posted 17 Nov 2015 in Open for better care

Let’s talk was promoted widely throughout the country during Patient Safety Week, 1–7 November 2015. The Commission would like to thank all those who helped make the week such a success.

Let’s talk focused on good communication between health professionals and patients and their families/whānau.

Resources developed for the week included:

  • an ‘airline-style’ safety card and video to give patients advice on ways they can stay safe in hospital
  • ‘Hello’, ‘Kia ora’ or ‘Talofa lava, my name is’ stickers – these were adapted from a campaign by terminally ill UK doctor Kate Granger, who noticed many clinicians treating her did not introduce themselves
  • an information sheet for staff on communicating well with patients
  • a discharge sheet, ‘Preparing to leave hospital’, which prompts patients to ask questions and note down any information they need to know to stay safe once they leave hospital care.

It was great to see the resources so widely used across the country. Sorry we couldn’t fill all the requests for extras!

Feedback on the patient safety card and discharge sheet was very positive, with district health boards (DHBs) using them in the ways best suited to their hospitals – whether that was in pre-admission packs, in specific wards or beside every bed.

It’s impossible to mention all the promotions across the country, but here are some we've been told about (see also the Open website).

At Taranaki DHB, the hospital management team helped spread Patient Safety Week messages with a walk around the wards and departments. Patients and visitors were encouraged to fill in a ‘What’s important to me in health care’ speech bubble. All patients admitted to Taranaki Base Hospital were given the patient safety card. Throughout the week there were displays at the main entrances of Taranaki Base and Hawera hospitals, including Patient Safety Week information booths, life-size Patient Safety Week cutouts and a mini cinema with complimentary popcorn where people could watch short interviews with patients about their experiences in health care, and the patient safety video.

At Whakatane Hospital, the ‘Hello, my name is’ stickers were made into lanyards, identifying carers as well. Bay of Plenty DHB focused on identification as a key theme – both the importance of staff introducing themselves to patients, and patients being correctly identified prior to an intervention. The DHB ran a display, encouraging health professionals to introduce themselves to patients and provided ‘Hello, my name is’ stickers to promote the message.

Southern DHB staff wore the ‘Hello, my name is’ stickers, with a focus on improving interaction between staff and patients.

'It sets the foundation for better communication about every aspect of a patient’s care, and what matters to them,' said Southern DHB director of quality Tina Gilbertson.

Registered nurse Linda Beebe and surgical ward educator Jan Tait also ran daily presentations for Southern DHB staff, and developed a video with surgical ward staff on the importance of communication.

MidCentral DHB ran communication workshops, information booths and displayed posters around Palmerston North Hospital. It shared photos of its activities on social media.

Activities at Counties Manukau DHB included the display of window decals with patient safety messages in the main hospital corridor, members of the team visiting wards and being present at information booths, Patient Safety Week screensavers used on all hospital computers, posters displayed in all stairwells and elevators, and displays around the hospital.

South Canterbury DHB created a ‘Tell me tree’ at Timaru Hospital where consumers could share stories of their experiences. It also set up a booth where patients and staff shared ideas, comments and suggestions about health care in South Canterbury.

Whanganui DHB took out an advertisement in the Wanganui Chronicle and the paper also profiled its Patient Safety Week activities. There was a stand in the main entrance of Whanganui Hospital, which profiled a different topic each day – including falls prevention, preventing blood clots, advance care planning, preventing infections and medication safety.

Auckland DHB had a stand in the main atrium of Auckland Hospital looked after by its pressure injuries, falls prevention and medication safety teams on successive days. It trialled the patient safety card in Ward 65, and both staff and patients said it was a great education tool.

Capital & Coast DHB promoted the ‘Hello, my name is’ stickers to staff on the Monday. Tuesday saw a focus on health literacy. Wednesday was all about discharge and keeping safe in hospital. Thursday focused on talking about the future and advance care planning. ‘Celebrating the care team’ was the highlight on Friday.

Hawke’s Bay DHB had special t-shirts made for frontline staff to encourage conversation. The DHB also put up a whiteboard at Hawke's Bay Hospital, where patients and their families/whānau left comments around the theme 'What matters to you?' (Note comments ‘3x rugby world champions please’ and ‘hot staff’!)

'We know from [Dr Granger] and other patients that introducing yourself is much more than just exchanging names,' said Hawke's Bay DHB’s consumer engagement manager Jeanette Rendle.

'It’s about making a human connection and building trust.'

Waikato DHB promoted the importance of communication and building trust with patients. It also gave out ‘Hello, my name is’ stickers to 150 first year nursing students who were beginning their clinical placements at the DHB.

Waitemata DHB hosted a series of listening events called ‘In Your Shoes’, where staff listened to patients to get a better understanding of what matters to them, and ‘In Our Shoes’, where the DHB listened to staff to understand what it could do to help staff improve patients’ experiences.

Also at Waitemata, GP and international expert Dr Neil Houston, who leads the Scottish primary care safety programme, gave a CEO-sponsored lecture on patient safety. There was also an open forum on ‘Patient safety – a just culture’ and the launch of a ‘speak up’ campaign.

Lakes DHB planned the week with the help of consumer volunteer Courtenay Thrupp. The DHB updated all display boards and had a special display in the foyer of Rotorua Hospital, which was looked after by volunteers, and quality and risk team executive assistant Amy Markham.

Each unit at the hospital received the patient safety card and the ‘Hello, my name is’ stickers.

Hauora Tairawhiti gave the patient safety card to all adult in-patients, and encouraged staff to talk to patients about the card. It also had a display booth which ‘moved’ around the hospital, being sited at the main entrance, out-patient department and the long-term conditions ambulatory unit Tui Te Ora.

Tairawhiti staff also travelled to Te Puia Springs Hospital (Ngati Porou Hauora) and delivered messages on infection control, hand hygiene and cannulation. They are continuing this work throughout November.

Northland DHB has a focus on different areas of patient safety each month, and in November chose health literacy. It set up a display stand, which also reinforced other safety projects worked on throughout the year, such as medication safety.

Four consumer grand rounds took place during Patient Safety Week. The Commission’s director Partners in Care, Dr Chris Walsh, presented at Hutt Valley, Taranaki and Bay of Plenty DHBs, and Open campaign manager Deon York presented at Capital & Coast DHB.

Following the presentation at Hutt Valley DHB, chief executive Dr Ashley Bloomfield said in his weekly update that the DHB was considering establishing a local consumer council.

At Taranaki DHB, Chris Walsh facilitated a panel discussion about communication at the hospital with clinicians and consumers. Following her presentation at Whakatane Hospital, there were a number of comments on the importance of the message to actively listen and engage with consumers.

There was some good media coverage of the week, with TVNZ's Toni Street commending the sector on making an effort on Seven Sharp (with thanks to Taranaki DHB), Radio New Zealand running stories the day before the week began and coverage in various other media such as 3 News online and SunLive.