Enhancing the Patient Experience: A Personalised Approach for our Patients, at Duchy Hospital

At Duchy, everything we do is focused on providing the very best health care to all, in a clean and safe environment. We find the patient journey is a crucial aspect that significantly impacts the overall experience and we recognise the importance of treating patients as unique individuals with distinct needs, preferences and concerns. We constantly strive to improve any areas we can, which has included extra training, patient passports, Makaton signage and 1-1 hospital tours.

·       Extra Training: Recognising that exceptional patient care begins with our staff, we have prioritised our learning and development and offer beyond the standard training with additional courses focused on diverse patient needs. The Learning Disabilities Clinical Nurse Specialist from the Royal Cornwall Hospital presented a talk to several large groups of staff, clinical and non-clinical, about different elements to look out for and how little things can go a long way with helping patients. Also, this year some of our team attended a day of ‘Celebrating Equality & Diversity’ with education sessions raising awareness on a multitude of topics.

·       Patient Passports: Understanding that each patient comes with a unique set of preferences and needs, but some people have extra needs due to conditions such as autism or learning disability. For this group of patients, we introduced a document that is given out before attendance or admission to the hospital. This is so they can record information about anything that is important to them, elements our team may need to know, activities or situations that could be triggering for anxiety or other symptoms, and any specific likes or dislikes they may have. We know many people have difficulty sharing this information verbally so have found that by introducing this document it’s an easier and more efficient way to communicate, and ensure our staff are well informed.

·       Makaton Symbols: Implementing Makaton signage is one of the steps we’ve taken to enhance communication with patients who may have difficulty expressing themselves verbally. Makaton is a unique language which combines signs, symbols and speech to aid communication, which we have added in areas of the hospital and in an information booklet we provide. This inclusive approach aims to create a more accessible and supportive environment for all patients.

·       1-1 Hospital Tour: Navigating a hospital can be overwhelming, so we offer individual tours of areas a patient would be attending during their admission with us. This enables them to familiarise themselves with the layout of our hospital, along with our facilities such as wifi access, TV and staff they may meet throughout their journey. They are encouraged to contact our team with any questions or concerns they may have prior to their admission, which many patients have informed us they found extremely valuable.

Improving diversity and equality is a true reflection of our core values and enhances the quality of the patient journey we provide. We aim to treat every patient as an individual, offering understanding, respect and personalised care. We will continue to work hard to ensure each person who walks through our doors receives this experience.

Debby Blease

Head of Clinical Services
Duchy Hospital

Debby Blease and Jo Larcome from Duchy Hospital holding a patient passport smiling