Patient Support Volunteers putting feedback first to improve hospital care

14 November 2018

Patient Support Volunteers putting feedback first to improve hospital care
Listening to patients is an essential aspect of improving care. And getting high-quality feedback can make all the difference when it comes to making a good service great.

Over the last year, Imperial Health Charity has been working with the Trust’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to help gather this valuable information from patients.

Our team of 14 Patient Support Volunteers has built strong relationships with both patients and clinical staff in key areas, taking time to listen sensitively to their concerns and quickly resolve small issues.

This important feedback is then logged and stored by the PALS team to help them identify opportunities to improve care. This could include anything from providing different food options at meal times to resolving night-time noise issues.

“I think it is so important that we start those conversations with patients,” said June Parker, the PALS Service Manager at St Mary’s Hospital.

“Sometimes when we are very busy we can forget about the little acts of human kindness. Bringing volunteers in has had a massive impact. Often patients are that little bit more comfortable talking to a volunteer.”

The project is the first time volunteers have been used to gather patient feedback at the Trust.

Launched at St Mary’s at the start of 2018, the role is set to be extended to Hammersmith Hospital next year.

June added: “We get brilliant feedback from our volunteers and I can use that feedback to see if there are any recurring themes that I can raise with members of staff.

“We are currently looking at making improvements to issues around food and night noise, and a lot of that is based on feedback we have had from volunteers.”

Bob Pols has been a Patient Support Volunteer at St Mary’s since the programme began.

Bob, who was presented with a Make a DIfference Volunteering Award for exemplifying the Trust’s collaborative value in his role, said: “I talk to patients about their care, their treatment and what they feel their outcomes are going to be, and this is quite a cathartic process for them.

“Personally I have also made a lot of new friends from all different backgrounds since I started at the beginning of the year, which has been very interesting.”

To find out more about volunteering opportunities in our hospitals, click here