Patients and carers to benefit from latest Patient Experience Symposium

Patient stories will be a part of medication safety education provided to new nursing graduates across Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) from next week.

The new initiative is being implemented by safety culture coordinator Prachi Javalekar, who wants to bring the power of patient and carer stories to the forefront after attending the NSW Patient Experience Symposium in Sydney this week.

The symposium, held on April 29 and 30, is an annual event which aims to unite people who are passionate about improvements in healthcare with two days of inspirational international and local speakers.

Healthcare leaders, patients and carers showcased expert evidence as well as local and international examples of healthcare innovations that are improving patient experience and outcomes.

Staff from across WSLHD gained different insights and experiences at the symposium.

Patient and carer experience manager Wendy Cain said a wide cross-section of around 20 staff from across WSLHD attended the symposium.

“I’ve asked staff over the next two weeks to come up with an idea or initiative for their personal professional practice, for their work area, and for the health district inspired by what they saw at the symposium,” she said.

“We are lucky to have very motivated staff who understand that patient and carer experience is central to everything we do, and are committed to enhancing the good work they already do.”

Wendy said some highlights from the symposium included Professor Helen Sanderson speaking about staff experience with practical ideas for person-centred practice in the workplace, and a presentation on the award-winning Patient’s Voice project at Nepean Blue Mountains Health District.

At the symposium the Clinical Excellence Commission launched the Health Literacy Framework which is available to support all health staff better communicate with patients, families and carers. There are four priorities outlined in the framework:

·         Patients, families and carers

·         Staff

·         Environment

·         Health system

This broad focus aims to create sustainable change and improve safety and quality of care.

“We know in Australia 60 per cent of people need help with health literacy so, supporting patients, families and carers to understand and manage their health is a key way to improve their quality of life,” Clinical Excellence Commission chief executive Carrie Marr said.

“It is also a key way to reduce the impact of disease by identifying and removing barriers for patients, families and carers so they can become active partners in their health care.’’

NSW Health Secretary Elizabeth Koff said she was delighted to see the symposium, now in its fifth year, drawing an audience of about 700 delegates.

“Patient experience is a crucial element of healthcare,” Ms Koff said.

“When healthcare staff focus on patient experience, they can really improve the safety and quality of care for our patients.”

The symposium is realised through collaboration from key health partners including the Ministry of Health, Agency for Clinical Innovation, Clinical Excellence Commission, Health Education and Training Institute, Bureau of Health Information, Cancer Institute NSW, eHealth NSW, NSW Health Pathology and HealthShare NSW.