New team raises the bar for patient experience

Thavashanie Govender is one of the friendly faces dedicating to improving patient experience in Blacktown Hospital’s emergency department.

Patient experience is the number one priority for a new team of experts that have joined hospitals across Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).

Called patient experience coordinators, these seven PECs will be flexing their muscles from the emergency department to outpatient clinics and everywhere in between as they seek to improve every aspect of interaction with our services.

Among them is Kate Mason, who calls upon her experience as a mother and a carer to make a difference for those going through a difficult time.

“What I find the most rewarding about the role is when I manage to get a patient to stay who was planning to leave against medical advice. On a number of occasions this has led to the patient getting the help they need,” Kate said.

Westmead Hospital emergency department PEC Christine Fryer chats with Chantel and Nathan Sloane while they wait for treatment.

PECs speak to patients across their department to keep them updated, address their concerns and follow up anything they’re waiting for, such as test results or discharge paperwork.

They also work closely with other staff in the department to understand any new or ongoing issues, and have de-escalation training in the event of any patient or visitor agitation.

WSLHD Patient and Carer Experience manager Wendy Cain said the new team demonstrates the district’s commitment to continually improving patient experience.

Blacktown Hospital emergency department PEC Thavashanie Govender (right) updates carer Corazon Masilungan.

“We know the kinds of things that people find frustrating when they come to hospital, such as wait times without explanation,” Wendy said.

“This new team will help ensure all our patients and carers are informed and looked after throughout their time with us, and leave feeling better about the whole experience.”

PEC Felicia Figueredo said a simple interaction can make a big difference.

“I help patients and carers with the smallest of things like giving them a blanket, a cup of tea or a glass of water; to bigger things like fast tracking their X-rays or scans in order to speed up the process,” Felicia said.

“When I see the gratitude in the eyes of a patent or carer, where no words are needed, that’s when I know that I have done my job and this I find most rewarding.”

PEC Guneet Dhillon said his experience with emergency departments as a patient and a carer inspired him to want to make a difference.

“There is always uncertainty about what is going to happen and if they will be looked after,” Guneet said.

“This role is a ray of hope. Having someone in waiting room to explain what to expect and care for them does make a great difference to the patient’s experience.”

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