Patient centred communication on hospital wards

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Summary of report content

This is an enter and view report published by Healthwatch Coventry, October 2017. The Healthwatch was planning to do work on communication and the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) was also looking into the issue. There was a special focus on those with specific communication needs, this might include those with learning disabilities or English as a second language. A total of 107 people were spoken to, this included 72 patients, 24 members of staff and 11 relatives. Majority of comments were positive. A detailed summary of findings is given in the report, which involved visits to a number of different wards within the hospital. A set of recommendations were published and a response is given from the provider. Summary of recommendations: - Address variation in availability and awareness of resources to support communication with patients. A small number of accessible and useful resources are more likely to be identifiable and used by ward staff than many different resources. Utilise good practice examples from individual wards making these more widely available on different wards. - Review policy and guidance on patient interpretation and translation within the Trust. Look at the appropriateness of current practice on who is doing translation and in what circumstances. We found staff of many roles and relatives doing translation. It was unclear the extent to which this was for day-to-day communication or for clinically related communication. The aim should be a patient focused approach, which is consistent, safe, and workable. - Develop the support for patients who are hearing impaired, this is a significant number of patients (from our findings the majority are older people with hearing loss) and the Trust needs to consider and resource how to address these needs consistently and effectively on a day to day basis. Review the Sign Language Charter, what it should be achieving and if this is useful for direct patient care and to ensure that ward staff are aware of it. Evidence this. - Build on existing training to develop and provide training for different grades of staff around learning disability awareness. - Work with CWPT to review the role of the Learning Disability Acute Liaison nurses by gathering input of ward staff and the Acute Liaison nurse team to assess how this is working; if this support is meeting the needs of wards and if this service has sufficient resource to meet needs. - Work with ward staff to establish the best resources to provide simple translated information in other languages and make this available on every ward. This may be the British Red Cross book if awareness of this resource amongst staff is raised/promoted. - Promote greater access to the Language Line interpretation service for patients on wards when it is difficult to organise a face-to-face interpreter in a timely way. To build on the work already carried out on how better access to phones can be provided on wards including travelling phones so that patients are not restricted to accessing a phone at a desk or fixed point. - Improve the quality of communication with patients and relatives regarding planning for discharge, working for this to begin earlier and be clearer to patients and relatives. The key is the culture and leadership around this. As new approaches around discharge are adopted, gather evidence to see if improved communication is resulting.

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General details

Report title 
Patient centred communication on hospital wards
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Coventry
Date of publication 
Monday, 2 October, 2017
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 10 May, 2017
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 17 August, 2017
Type of report 
Enter and view
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Public involvement
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Structured interview
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Care of the elderly
General surgery
Obstetrics & gynaecology
Renal medicine
Respiratory medicine

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 
Gynaecological conditions
Urological conditions
Types of disabilities 
Learning or understanding or concentrating
Types of long term conditions 
Cancer in the last 5 years
Learning disability

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.