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Maternity staff 'swap shoes' with users to shape future of services

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Maternity staff on the South Coast have “taken a walk in” the shoes of women and families at their trust, in an initiative designed to help understand user and carer experience.

Two midwives at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust (BSUH) organised a workshop that brought together women, their families and staff to discuss how maternity services can be shaped in the future.

“The aim of day was to hear the voices of woman and their families plus the game was a great way to generate ideas”

Katie Eaves

The event centred around an engaging board game called ‘Whose Shoes’ and encouraged attendees to walk in other peoples’ shoes to help understand user, carer and staff experience of maternity services at the trust.

Some of the topics discussed during the workshop included developing working relationships within maternity, continuity of care and women centred care.

In addition, attendees were asked to write down a personal pledge to help improve maternity services. The trust highlighted that some ideas given suggested developing support on postnatal wards, as well as support with perinatal mental health.

Key themes explored on the day were then brought to life on a large display board designed by a graphic artist, noted the trust.

The idea is that the art will soon be showcased in BSUH’s maternity services, and that the information will be used to form action plans, as designed by both staff and service users.

“The conversations provided a really valuable source of material and we will now take this back into maternity services to develop the care we provide”

Jane Cleary

Held at the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer, the event welcomed the trust’s chief nurse, Nicola Ranger, along with Baroness Julia Cumberlege, the creator of Whose Shoes Gill Philips, and obstetrician Florence Wilcock.

They were joined by midwives, obstetricians, neonatal experts and staff across the trust connected to maternity services.

Katie Eaves and Jane Cleary, midwives in the maternity education team at the trust, organised the event with the Maternity Voices Partnership for Brighton and Mid-Sussex and the professional midwifery advocates for BSUH.

Ms Eaves said: “The aim of day was to hear the voices of woman and their families plus the game was a great way to generate ideas and start conversations.”

Ms Cleary added: “The event gave clinical staff and service users the time and space to really listen to, and hear each other.

“It also gave woman and their families a better understanding of our role and gave the staff an understanding of how people feel when they come to us,” she said.

“What was clear was the importance of care that is safe, kind and compassionate,” said Ms Cleary. ”The conversations provided a really valuable source of material and we will now take this back into maternity services to develop the care we provide.”

graphic artist displayboard

graphic artist displayboard

Graphic artist display board

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