By Keith Prince, modern housekeeper of Ward 3, London Road Community Hospital
If someone asked you what the most beautiful thing was that you had ever seen, what would you say? Most people think of lakes and mountains. Not me. Without doubt, the most beautiful thing I have seen in my life is my back door. When you don’t know where you’ll be living from one week to the next, having your own back door, and knowing that nobody can take it away, is the best thing you can possibly have.
My home may not be a palace (actually, it’s a two-bed semi) but to me it is everything. And this is why, on the section of my staff one-page profile that asks ‘What’s important to me’, I have said, simply, ‘My house and garden’.
We’re doing quite well with staff profiles on Ward 3. About half are done and are up on the wall for all to see. Each profile has a photograph of our staff member, a section about what’s important to them and another on how to support them. I’ve noticed ward visitors and family members reading them. It’s nice to see people looking at something other than posters about safety alerts or social services. It’s great that they can put a name to a face and learn something about the team looking after their loved ones.
We’re also busy implementing patient one-page profiles across the ward. Every relative I’ve spoken to says what a good idea they are – I’ve not heard one dissenting voice. The profiles are being put on our patients’ lockers where the whole team can see them. They were originally going to be clipped into care plans but we’ve had a re-think.
I won’t say it is plain sailing. When patients come to us from A&E or the medical assessment unit they are often very tired so we need to wait for 24 hours – or sometimes longer – before we can sit down with them and start work on a profile. In some cases, patients will be discharged so quickly that we don’t have a chance to even start a profile. On other occasions, a patient’s lucidity may be coming and going.
I was concerned about this until we all visited Spiral Health in Blackpool, the social enterprise which pioneered one-page profiles for hospital patients. I thought they’d be uber-efficient but they were wonderfully down-to-earth. They explained that sometimes they fall behind a little and have to make a determined effort to catch up – but that the effort is worth it.
There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a role for one-page profiles in hospitals. Our team has got behind them – in particular Vicky, our ward receptionist, who has been a soldier. I’m half way through some special training from Jo Harvey. She’s teaching me how to train others to write one-page profiles. I never thought that at 54 I’d be a trainer. It’s amazing what Jo can bring out of you!
As a modern housekeeper it’s my job to make sure the ward is clean, the patients have what they need and the ward is well supplied with linen and everything else it needs to run efficiently. Now, with the advent of one-page profiles, I’ve added a whole new string to my bow.