On Wednesday 19 August 2015, we conducted our annual Community Meeting. Melbourne Health leadership and staff joined with patients, carers and members of the community to talk about how we can improve our services. Find out more about what we heard…
Knowing who to contact after discharge
We talked about the importance of knowing who to contact when you go home and how we could do this better. A few of the suggestions of what would help included
- We’d give you a personalized discharge action plan… Patients being given their own information on discharge in a way that recognizes their individual preferences
- Information would be simple and easy to understand - no jargon, multi-language standard clear information provided like contact details, explanation of condition and what is “normal” and “not normal”
- More involvement of friends and family in care
- We would have simplified maps for website and directions for visitors
- We would provide timely, up to date information for RDNS and GPs – including medical discharge summaries. We would communicate, engage and collaborate with our GPs and use integrated IT systems between GP, pharmacy and hospital
Rights and Responsibilities
There was a lot of discussion about whether patients and consumers understand their rights and responsibilities while they are with us. We talked about the language we use to explain this and how it can sometimes be difficult to understand. You suggested we look at ways of explaining this one-on-one – perhaps using volunteers and interpreters to support this.
Involved in decision-making about my care
We know that some of our patients and consumers don’t feel as involved in decision making about their own care as they want to be. We know that you are the key player in your own health so keeping you involved in everything that happens is important. A few of the suggestions we heard at the Community Meeting to do this better included…
- Give people the opportunity to be accommodated in making their time appointment times
- Have conversations in a compassionate manner about goals of care, advance care planning, powers of attorney etc.
- Train staff in how to have those “difficult conversations”
- Consider cultural and religious preferences
- Take your perspectives into consideration
- Ask… “What matters most to you?” “What’s important to you?”
- Respect the integrity of the “human-ness” of the person
- Involve family
- Simple step by step communications - use common terms and language
- Handover in a way that is respectful of the person, not just in their role as a patient – we introduce ourselves, ask permissions etc.
- Having a conversation – be “present” for our patients and their carers / families
- We understand the context of our patients’ history much better – not just the condition – but more about them (such as cultural and social issues).
- Provide a totally multi-disciplinary approach
- Learn to really communicate and understand each other’s roles
- Keep you in the loop (as a carer)… tell you what’s happening
- Offer meetings with peer support and involvement in decision making, make you feel welcomed into the facility / community – so that we know you well – on first name basis (Aged Mental Health Residential Care)
- Peer support in every inpatient mental health unit – providing support to carers and consumers
- Information in other languages from GP referral onwards
- We give you a clear and concise plan
- We understand your needs and expectations
- We take time hear and share personal stories
- Consider personal touches when dealing with patients
- We give you an idea of waiting time in the ED
We want everyone to feel safe while under our care – safety is our highest priority. Some of the discussion around how we can achieve this highlighted the need to communicate more clearly. Keeping family involved or giving the patient or consumer the ability to contact loved ones if they need – by using a mobile or cordless phone is important. It was suggested that developing a smart phone app would be helpful. We also talked about how a homely environment… things like music and art therapy, access to food and toilet can really help. The need to be culturally sensitive and to celebrate our diversity was highlighted.