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Patients help to shape change at Birmingham and Solihull

Tue 22nd July, 2014
Patients help to shape change at Birmingham and Solihull

A team at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust have been using LiA to involve patients in making changes to the care they receive. The results of their work have made a real difference to the patient experience.

Staff within the Forensic Reaside outreach team felt that other teams within the Trust had very little knowledge of the service they provide. This was leading to patients ‘falling through the net’, or receiving inappropriate referrals. Patients felt isolated, having little opportunity to connect with others in a similar situation. In addition staff were feeling frustrated, morale was starting to slide and sickness levels were increasing.

The team were very keen to provide a vehicle for feedback and give their patients the opportunity to suggest changes. They decided that a questionnaire was needed – but instead of designing it themselves, the team turned the design over to the patients. This had an immediate impact - those involved in the design felt respected, valued and trusted by staff and as part of the process they were able to meet with people who have had similar experiences.

The positive response from all involved has led to the creation of a group which meets every quarter on an informal basis for social events and on a formal basis to give help and support for practical issues such as housing and benefits. LiA has also helped staff to redecorate a meeting room for the patients and sourced a PC to provide internet access during their visits.

The team conducted a survey using the questionnaire, the feedback was very positive – one patient wrote; “provide a postage stamp for surveys next time!”

As forensic patients, many have reported that they feel less isolated and less prejudiced by the community. They also feel less stressed and more in control of their personal lives - staff are no longer needing to spend as much time providing guidance for everyday life needs and counselling for problems with sleep. The meetings have proved so successful that attendee numbers have already increased.

In addition to the obvious benefits for their patients, staff morale and motivation within the service has increased and sickness levels have fallen.

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