Making the feedback process work for patients living with dementia and mental health illness

The patient experience team at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust worked closely with staff on specialist Mental Health Services for Older People (MHSOP) wards to develop a tailored approach to patient and carer feedback.

One ward treats patients with dementia, who lack the capacity to take part in real time patient interviews. Interviews are carried out with patients’ relatives, and often cover a patient’s journey, as some stay for several weeks or months. The team also carries out ward observations, where they record notes about the environment and the interactions between staff and patients. Verbal feedback is given to the ward manager immediately, followed by a written report around a week later.

Another ward is for older people experiencing functional mental health illness. The patient experience team carries out individual interviews with patients when they are well enough to answer questions about the quality of their care, which can be some time after admission.

Feedback results are shared with staff and discussed in their team and governance meetings to help them reflect on their practice. Action plans are produced by the MHSOP team, so they can make practical changes in response to the feedback. Graphics are displayed on the wards to show patients, relatives and staff the impact of the feedback.

The approach works for doctors because it gives them insight into their services and, importantly, they can see the value of changes made for their patients.

Dr Christopher Davison, Consultant Psychiatrist and Head of MHSOP Services, said,

’the feedback gives us meaningful patient and carer views on medical care, which can be contemplated to promote positive change. We use the feedback as part of our revalidation process, for reflection and to provide evidence for appraisals.’