We are always looking at ways of improving patient experience across our Trusts and the launch of a Carers’ Passport at Walsall Healthcare Trust next week is another route towards accelerating those outcomes.
The passport, which was first introduced at Walsall Manor Hospital in April, will be available from Wednesday 1 September and comes after a successful pilot was carried out on Ward 11 over several weeks. The feedback has been positive, both from staff, carers and patients.
The document was developed by the trust’s Patient Experience Team aimed at ensuring those who have caring responsibilities are recognised, supported and involved within healthcare services.
Feedback – nationally as well as locally – was that carers found it difficult to access information and advice and navigate the sometimes complex processes within the NHS and social care. So the passport will hopefully see them better supported, which will also impact positively on the person they are caring for, as well as health professionals involved in the person’s care.
Royal blue in colour, the passport will contain a credit-card sized ID card with the carer’s name and patient name on the front. On the reverse is the name and signature of the authorising member of staff, plus the date of issue and date of expiry.
There will also be a pocket-sized passport document, which will explain what the carer can expect from hospital staff (the ‘offer’ to them), in accordance with the NHS Constitution’s commitment to carers being involved and consulted in the care and treatment of their family member or friend.
Matt Hill, Patient Relations & Experience Support Officer with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, explained: “We’ve had a really good response from people. Staff on the ward have found the passport really helpful.
“Many carers struggle to have their role recognised by health and care professionals. This has a negative impact on the patient, but can also affect the carer’s own health and wellbeing.
“By introducing a Carers’ Passport, we hope to encourage more people to tell us they have caring responsibilities so we can set out the support or services we can offer. Many people don’t see themselves as carers; they tend to “get on with things” and we also want to show our appreciation and acknowledgment of the vital role they play in our communities.”
Matt added: “Carers know the person they are supporting better than anyone and their knowledge and experience should be valued and used to inform the best care and outcomes for patients. That’s our ambition here in Walsall.”