Monday, 20 May 2013

In Your Shoes

I spent a very interesting morning at the hospital today.  No, there’s nothing wrong with me, or mum, or OH.  Well, nothing more than usual!  This was a sort of focus group thingy, where patients and carers were invited to share their experiences, good and bad, with a member of staff on a one to one basis, then in groups, to try and find out where things could be made better, changed etc, to make the whole hospital experience a bit less stressful and frustrating.  It’s called “In Your Shoes”

Some people had bad personal experiences and that was their focus, some had more general comments to make.  This is not the place to share specific things that were said. I was a little surprised that no comment was made at the beginning about treating what we heard in the room as confidential, although no one exactly bared their soul.

There were plenty of positive comments too.  I guess once you have had a bad experience you tend to dwell on those aspects, whereas if you haven’t had problems you can see the bigger picture.

Anyway, in our one to one we had to try and find pithy sentences to express what we wanted to say, good on green post-its and bad on pink.  In the group work these were discussed and stuck up on a chart on the wall by the facilitator’s lovely assistant who wrote appropriate headings.  I don’t think any voices were raised, which was a triumph of management, and everyone seemed to get to say what they wanted to say.  The post-it notes was a good idea, because that way the facilitator could see who still had a point to make.
It was also a good thing to hear what others had to say, it gives one some perspective.

I feel some sympathy for the people who have to run a big institution like a hospital, there is no way they can please everybody because the needs of some are in direct conflict with the needs of others.  This was not mentioned today, because it was important that people all felt that they were being listened to but my own thoughts on that are that when people want to be given time to talk, have things properly explained to them, but they don’t want to be late going in to their appointment there is a problem.  So some “buffer” time should be given?  But that means less people being seen in a day so longer waiting times to get the appointment in the first place.  Make sure you have one for 5 minutes and then one for 25 minutes?  Well, that doesn’t work because you don’t know how long each person is going to be so you can’t plan for that.  Make sure there is plenty of room for wheelchairs in the waiting areas? Well that means less seats for everyone else (actually, I had an idea about that. Flip up seats, just a few)

All in all it was a good day, so if you ever get the chance to take part in a “In Your Shoes” session, take it.