Summary of report content
Healthwatch Waltham Forest conducted an Enter and View visit to the Sage Ward at Whipps Cross University Hospital on 31 January 2018. The visit was carried out as part of a wider programme of visits to Health and Social Care services in Waltham Forest with the aim of hearing and seeing how these services are delivered. Healthwatch Waltham Forest had received a number of comments from local residents regarding their inpatient care on Sage Ward during 2015-16. Feedback was gathered from patients and staff, through observation, interviews and surveys.
The overall feedback received from patients receiving care at Sage Ward around quality of care was very positive. Patients felt safe, supported and listened to when expressing their needs. From their observations, the Enter and View representatives found there to be a good nursing team who were committed and worked well together and with the patients they were caring for. Patients perceived the care they received from staff to be caring and compassionate. Some felt they were informed about their care and knew when they would be discharged from the ward. Some patients perceived staff to be very busy and felt uncomfortable to express their needs.
The service has a complaints policy and procedure in place. Patients seemed to be aware of how to raise a concern or complaint should they need to. Staff were aware of the service complaints procedure and how to communicate it to patients. The ward had produced a patient welcome pack and was in the process of updating it for distribution at the time of our visit.
The service had a comprehensive staff training system in place, including mandatory training. Some staff members felt it was adequate, whilst others felt it could be improved. The response from staff regarding support and feedback was varied; some members of staff felt they were supported well in their role, whilst others were concerned about low staffing levels as an ongoing problem. It was felt that the service experienced disruption to joined up working when new or inexperienced agency/bank staff came in. Some staff felt the service would benefit from more support from management.
The service had systems in place to support people with additional needs, however, some staff experienced barriers to accessing effective support – for example, the demand and waiting period for face to face support when using the language line for patient support in comparison to the supply of support and timeframe in which it was given. Provision was in place to support patients living with dementia, however additional tools/equipment within the ward was not utilised as well as it could be in order to provide activities support for this patient group as well as other patients on the ward. In addition, staff had access to comprehensive training and support from the Dementia and Delirium team. However, this was under-utilised.
Based on their findings, Healthwatch Waltham Forest made three recommendations:
- For the service to carry out a review of the existing service plan in place which offers support to patients diagnosed/living with dementia by working more closely with the existing Whipps Cross Dementia & Delirium Team to ensure all staff are fully trained, knowledgeable and equipped to engage and support patients more actively.
- For the service to complete the production of the patient/service user welcome booklet discussed with Healthwatch Waltham Forest at the time of the visit.
- For the service to review the existing discharge process and explore how best to improve and make this process more patient centred.
The report contains a positive response from the service provider.