Nurses in Worcestershire are being urged to “play their ACE card” to improve communications with patients.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust is encouraging nursing staff to challenge colleagues if they feel their interaction with patients is not up to scratch, as part of a programme called Active Caring for Everyone (ACE).
It has developed ACE cards for staff, which summarise the key approaches of the programme: “connect, ask, respond and deliver”. The cards also urge staff to smile while talking to patients.
The programme is intended to ensure “every moment of contact, no matter how small, impacts on the patient experience in a positive way” at the trust’s three main hospitals.
The trust has so far trained around 300 staff in better patient communication techniques and aims to have trained a total of 3,000 by next March.
Trust director of nursing Helen Blanchard said: “Patients have told us that healthcare is great and they have a good experience here, but we could do more to communicate and engage with them. It is literally about improving interaction with patients.”
Ms Blanchard said the idea of the cards was to help staff raise concerns quietly if colleagues were not communicating well. “It helps them to reflect on their own practice and also the standards among their team,” she told Nursing Times.
Response from nurses has been very positive, she added. The trust will be evaluating outcomes from the programme, for example, by looking at whether numbers of patient complaints have changed.
It is also being trialled by other hospitals in the Herefordshire and Worcestershire area, but Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust is the most advanced in its implementation.