Children who took part in a Little Voices initiative, to help Walsall Healthcare better understand young patients’ experience and make improvements, have been instrumental in earning the organisation a prestigious Gold award at a national conference.
The project scooped the Gold IPS Impact Award for Patient Experience at the recent Infection Prevention Society’s annual Infection Prevention Conference in Liverpool, to the delight of staff involved.
Little Voices saw Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust partner with Pelsall Village School to work with “inspectors” (a group of pupils) to review paediatric services for children and young people. This approach was pioneered by the Trust’s Patient Relations & Experience Team.
As part of this work, the young inspectors developed a new a new method of observing standards of hand hygiene from a patient perspective.
Amy Boden Associate Director – Nursing Operations and Deputy Director Infection Prevention and Control, said: “It is so important for organisations to incorporate patient observations to give an accurate 24-hour picture of hand hygiene compliance.
“Thanks to Little Voices we have been able to introduce a hand cleaning observation sheet into Paediatrics and this has made a real impact. It better supports our audits and helps staff to have a much greater awareness of what happens at the bedside from our patients and families’ perspectives.
“It was an honour to present about this collaborative initiative at the conference and we are thrilled to have come away with the Gold award. Aside from being able to spread the word about Walsall’s innovation more widely, we have all thoroughly enjoyed working with a super group of children who have really opened our eyes within healthcare services. This award is thanks to them and their enthusiasm and brilliant ideas.”
Vikki Harrison, Matron on Children’s Ward, said: “Nothing has made such an impact as a child asking if you have cleaned your hands before examining them! It allows the child and the family to be really involved in their care.”
The Little Voices project recently beat strong competition to win the category of Communicating Effectively accolade in The Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA).
The project then went on to be crowned the overall winners at the awards, which will see Walsall Healthcare work in collaboration with PENNA over the next 12 months.
Garry Perry, Associate Director – Patient Relations & Experience at Walsall Healthcare, added: “We are extremely proud of Little Voices here in Walsall but highlighting the project nationally has shown us the greater potential it has as well as giving us an even greater appreciation of the impact it has had on patient experience.
“I’d echo Amys comments – our inspectors have been fantastic and have confidently shared their findings, observations and ideas with senior leaders at Walsall Manor Hospital so we can work together to enhance services for all.”