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Posted 18 Dec 2014 in Patient Safety Week

Consumer resource Let’s PLAN for better care is proving a hit with staff and patients at Taranaki District Health Board (DHB).

Launched during Patient Safety Week in November, Let’s PLAN is a resource designed to help consumers prepare for their appointments with GPs and nurses, and is already being used in many hospitals as well.

Taranaki DHB distributed the resource during Patient Safety Week, and also sends it out with appointment letters. This gives patients the time and space to read the information and plan what they want to ask about in their upcoming visit.

Rachel Matthews, a preadmissions nurse at Taranaki DHB, says that seeing patients come into the clinic with their completed sheets has been a lovely experience.

‘The pre-planning and pre-thought that goes into it is really helpful,’ says Rachel. ‘I’m sure often patients must walk out and think “I wish I had asked…” but with Let’s PLAN patients have the chance to note everything down before coming.’

Rosemary, a patient, brought a completed Let’s PLAN to a recent consultation with Rachel, and says it was very helpful.

‘The information was really clear and useful. I filled everything out, in case I forgot anything on the day. It was a really good memory prompt. It helped me make sure I covered everything off before the end of the appointment,’ says Rosemary.

Rachel says the experience with Rosemary was very positive.

‘She had followed the advice on Let’s PLAN and noted down her medication and questions before coming to her appointment,’ says Rachel.

‘The advantage was that Rosemary had really thought about what she may experience. She was fully engaged and able to check that she had all her questions answered before she left the clinic. It was great. We both got everything we needed out of the appointment.

‘I would encourage everyone to use Let’s PLAN. It would be great to adopt the resource for all patients coming to the preadmission and outpatient clinics here.’

Elle Coberger, a pharmacist at Canterbury DHB, says the DHB’s patient information leaflet team is very enthusiastic about the Let’s PLAN resource. The team writes information leaflets to help patients understand the safe use of their medicines and the information in their leaflets closely matches the questions on Let’s PLAN.

‘Empowering patients to ask the right questions about medicines is essential to good patient care.’ says Elle.

The Let’s PLAN initiative is part of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Open for better care national patient safety campaign. Let’s PLAN resources have been sent to all DHBs and pharmacies in New Zealand. For more information, go to