St Benedict's Hospice In-Patient Unit

St Benedict's Hospice In-Patient Unit

Promoting privacy and dignity is about changing culture, not just improving services. Patients judge their experience on the way they are treated as a person as well as on how they are treated for their condition.

In view of this philosophy, the multidisciplinary team at St Benedict's Hospice developed a project to turn the traditional medical model of care on its head and put the patient at the heart of the service. The aim was to find the best way to deliver safe and effective care at the same time as giving patients more choice and control.

Achieving this goal involved facilitating a rigorous five-day workshop, holding focus groups with staff and patients, and conducting interviews with patients and relatives. Patients were also encouraged to keep journals and to write an honest and descriptive account of their experience.

Emphasising privacy and dignity emerged as one of the key aspects of the project, and this has resulted in the creation of posters to remind staff to respect the privacy of patients and ensure they are not disturbed unnecessarily. A dignity charter has also been drawn up and patients are routinely given diary sheets to ensure that the multidisciplinary team is able to fit services around patient availability.

Other significant achievements include greater patient involvement in care plans and the development of a 'welcome' pack with patient assistance.

Sustainability is ensured by good communication, and the project remains an agenda item to this day. Feedback on the initiative is extremely positive, including comments such as: "My husband's final hours were very dignified and pain free. I do not think that would have been possible had he passed away at home."