PENNA, or The Patient Experience Network National Awards, recognise best practice in patient experience across all facets of health and social care in the UK. The awards are delivered by the Patient Experience Network, whose vision is to create a unique platform and resource hub of best practice methods and models across the healthcare industry.
The shortlisting is for the team’s introduction of patient diaries, which are designed to follow the patient’s journey through Critical Care.
“The diaries have been used on the unit for around eighteen months,” explains Laura Muir, Staff Nurse and Patient Experience Sister for Critical Care.
“So far they’ve been a resounding success. Nurses have loved them, and patients and their relatives have found them incredibly useful.”
As well as following the patient’s journey, the diaries act as an excellent form of communication between nurses and the patient’s family, reducing psychological distress by providing regularly updated stories about the patient’s stay. The diaries also promote patient memory, filling in any gaps the patient may have during their stay.
Laura continues: “After the initial implementation in 2019, Kym Vigus and Katie Steward, the main drivers behind the project, set-up a steering group to refine the use of the diaries. It was important to get colleagues and patients involved and get the right feedback on layout, pictures, diagrams, ‘about me’ sections for patients, and any other aspects that might assist with engagement. It was a real team effort.”
“Katie succeeded in raising £7,000 through participation in the ‘Come Dance with Us’ event hosted by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity,” Laura adds. “This money was raised to go towards the psychological recovery of our Critical Care patients, and as part of this we created our patient diary. Sarah Bean, critical care research nurse, and William English, critical care consultant, carry out the follow up clinics for past critical care patients. They have been instrumental in promoting the use of these diaries once patients leave the department, which helps to fill in the gaps in memory, and encourages patients with their recovery.”
Feedback on the diaries has been positive. One participant replied: “I absolutely loved the diary the nurses wrote, because it helped me to understand what was happening. The comments in the diary weren’t impersonal, and I was really grateful to read them.” Another responded:
“We felt that the critical care team understood what we have been through. The diary is such a fantastic idea and we still read it now.”
“The diaries have been a great benefit to patients and their relatives during the Covid-19 pandemic,” staff nurse Kym Vigus explains. “Throughout this time, we’ve been well supported by the Patient Experience group, who sent an application to the PENNA Awards on behalf of the team. PENNA were very interested in the process of quality improvement that the diaries had demonstrated, and the positive impact they’d had on our patients and their relatives.”
“The entire team is thrilled to have been shortlisted,” explains staff nurse Katie Steward. “To achieve this kind of recognition at a national level is just phenomenal. Making this standard of care normal is just fantastic, and the whole team is really happy to be nominated.”
“Everyone has worked so hard on this project and are really deserving of any success,” concludes Laura. “The difference this has made to our patients is incredible. Day in, day out, we are using our diaries as just part of normal care, which is amazing.”
Shortlisted finalists now get the opportunity to present their project live alongside all others in their category in PENNA’s week of Best Practice Sharing sessions taking place 13th – 16 September 2021, with the Overall Winner Awards Ceremony taking place on 17th September 2021.