Quantifying parental concern to strengthen their voice

Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

  • Project led by Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Based on a haematology and oncology ward.
  • Aimed to involve parents and carers more purposefully in their child’s care and to achieve earlier identification of deterioration in a child’s condition, while reducing unnecessary parental anxiety.
  • Developed a communication bundle which promoted parental involvement and provided a consistent framework for measuring and responding to parental input.

The Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust project team wanted to involve parents and carers more purposefully in their child’s care and to achieve earlier identification of deterioration in a child’s condition, while reducing unnecessary parental anxiety.

Their 'Listening to You' communication bundle provided a framework for measuring and responding to parental input, through:

  • a leaflet for parents and carers covering topics such as how to have effective conversations with hospital staff
  • a leaflet for staff on their role in the project
  • a 'Planning Care Together' form which enables parents and staff to share, discuss and document parental concerns.

During the pilot, the team sensitively sought out children whose condition was worsening and used the documentation to formally incorporate parental views in their care. They also asked parents for their views on how the tool could be used to help the teams determine how unwell their child is.

Who was involved

Pilot research was carried out by the trust’s post-acute care enablement team. The team included a project manager with a background in clinical governance, a finance lead, a non-executive director and an advisor on parent and patient experience.

Impact

Parents who used the communication bundle went on to have more effective dialogue with staff. The team reported examples of positive changes in care, such as a long-stay family who used the Planning Care Together form to resolve a communication breakdown.

Challenges

Delays early on in the project created challenges around staff buy-in and providing information to parents. The team met with some resistance to the intervention until staff had a clear understanding of the benefits.

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