Something worth exploring?

Hospitals are busy places with new patients admitted all the time, changes in shift patterns, temporary staff as well as the rotations of permanent nurses and doctors. Most people expect this but it doesn’t mean that a hospital can’t personalise the service that they offer their patients or that they can’t provide person-centred support. I’ve been working with one nurse led rehabilitation unit near Blackpool who are doing just this. Bispham Hospital, part of Spiral Health, is committed to understanding and supporting each and every person that they treat, not just their condition, but their personal requirements as an individual. I have been working closely with the team to help them develop and better understand the patient-centred journey; an incredibly exciting and progressive approach by hospital staff which I can only describe as pioneering in the health care sector.

strong culture

Before I met with them, Bispham Hospital already had a strong culture of valuing patients and great feedback from people who were very vocal about the positive and professional care they’d received. But they wanted to push themselves to achieve more; to be leaders in the field of person-centred health care; to take the existing skills and experience that they had and apply new person-centred techniques that would produce even better outcomes for the people they serve.

Bispham Hospital is staffed by a team of motivated, skilled professionals who are open and even excited by change that leads to their patients having a better hospital experience. Tracey Bush, Managing Director has been blogging about their journey to embed person-centred approaches in their day-to-day interactions with each other, families and patients. So far this has involved a number of training sessions where I have introduced and coached person-centred thinking practices such as ‘positive and productive meetings’, ‘person-centred supervision’, ‘ person-centred thinking’ and ‘one-page profiles’. The aim of this work has been to help Spiral Health strengthen their person-centred culture; where team members know and understand each other and work well together because of it; where patients are encouraged to say how their hospital experience could be improved and where the patients’ journey is fully understood so that they are listened to and learnt about as individuals each step of the way.

On page profiles

Introducing one-page profiles for patients is a fundamental part of this journey. One-page profiles are a tool that we use to help understand a person, what is important to them, how best we can support them and what others like and admire about them. They also enable people to communicate information that they may not be able to get across in another way. It is a condensed way of sharing key details that can be understood and acted upon at a glance. They are becoming commonplace in social care settings where they are used in addition to care plans to give staff a snapshot of an individual’s personality and their support needs; as well as to match staff to people they support based on shared interests and outlooks. As they have evolved, and understanding of their full potential has grown, one-page profiles are now used with employees and customers in all types of organisations and across health, education, social care and private sectors.

To my knowledge though, no other hospital has invested the time and resource into understanding the patient-centred journey with the aim of changing their approach to support people in the way that Spiral Health Care has. They are truly an example of what health care could look like in the future with the emphasis placed firmly on treating patients as people, and the countless possibilities for change that can be achieved in a hospital setting. Someone asked me recently why I thought Bispham Hospital had been so successful in their commitment to deliver person-centred health care when others have not been through a similar journey. The honest answer is that other hospitals do have the resource and values to make it happen but it’s possible that they might not know what tools are available to them to improve the patient’s journey and crucially that these tools are workable in their environment.

Person-centred practices do make sense in a hospital setting and Bispham Hospital is evidence of this. Through working with them I have seen firsthand how we can apply our learning from Social Care and Education and adapt tools successfully to achieve great things. Yes hospitals are transient places, yes the nature of medical care can mean that personalised care is often seen as secondary but happiness and wellbeing are inarguably contributing factors to health and a person-centred environment is one that people feel happy working in and confident being cared for in. Isn’t this something worth exploring?