Puppies and activity packs: Patient Experience Week finds power in sharing stories

Hospital leaders went through the wards to speak to patients, hear their stories and hand out goodies.

“You explained my issues to me, acknowledged my excruciating pain and told me the how, what and why in a way that I understood and felt genuinely cared about.”

This heartfelt feedback for the staff at Auburn Hospital from patient Lauren perfectly sums up what Patient Experience Week is all about.

The annual, international event celebrates healthcare staff and their vital work providing the best patient experience every day.

Another highlight came at Westmead Hospital as the Westmead Hospital Foundation sponsored a visit from Nepean Therapy Dogs – to the delight of staff and patients alike.

Motorcycle crash victim Johnathon took the chance to pet one of the dogs while being transported to surgery, and 20-year-old patient Chloe enjoyed a long cuddle after her weekly saline infusion for a chronic illness.

I’ve spent many birthdays and Christmases in hospital and had many furry visitors over the years. It changes the hospital experience completely – when you’re having a bad day it makes it so much better.


“I have two puppies of my own and I just want them while I’m in hospital, so cuddling any dog makes it a little easier.”

Senior hospital leaders visited 26 wards across Auburn, Westmead, Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals throughout the week, starting important conversations around human experience.

Safety and Quality director Heather Doolan said the overall feedback was very positive as patients commended the skill and compassion of health staff.

“Patient and carer experience is always a top priority, but this week is a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on what really matters to people while they’re in our care – whether it’s for a routine appointment or lifechanging illness,” Heather said.

“Speaking face-to-face with patients and carers complements the feedback we get from the hundreds of My Experience Matters surveys completed each month, which really drives our commitment to always learning and improving the experience we provide.”

The ward visits were an opportunity to distribute themed tote bags for patient belongings with mindfulness activity packs and hygiene packs.

The Clinical Governance team also hosted stalls at each hospital with donated gifts from The Melanoma Institute, Poly, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Westmead Hospital Foundation and Western Sydney Local Health District.