12 December 2016

An interview with a Patient Liaison Worker…

We recently spoke to Steve Terney, a patient liaison worker in City & Hackney Centre for Mental Health. Steve is involved in the City & Hackney Violence Reduction Collaborative and the Gold Standards – Improving the ward environment QI project we featured a few months ago. Click here to re-visit that post.

Can you explain you role as a patient liaison officer? 

I am a patient liaison worker at City & Hackney Centre for Mental Health. I cover three wards: two acute women’s wards and one assertive outreach – rehab ward. My role is as an observer, I attend weekly community meetings on these wards and report any concerns patients or I have in the running of the wards back to all levels of management.

What is your role in the Gold Standards & violence reduction projects on Gardner Ward?

Gardner ward is a women’s acute ward. My role in the Golden Standards Quality Improvement project and Violence Reduction Collaborative project is firstly to facilitate patients to fill in a 10 question questionnaire including encouragement to add their feedback on any issues, stressing that it will be anonymous. Following this, I attend QI project meetings regularly where I can feedback on patient’s concerns.

What are the projects aiming to do?

The projects are aiming to improve the environment on Gardner ward; from aesthetics of the ward, through to approachability of staff, availability of relevant and up to date information, relevant patient groups and safety for all on the wards, through the use of the safety cross and discussions around safety in community meetings.

Why did you want to be involved in these projects in the beginning?

My reasons for getting involved in these projects were that as a long time service user, I wanted to help patients input into improving the experience of being on the ward by empowering them to honestly express how they really feel, and to improve things for themselves and others in the future. I also find my role personally rewarding.

How would you describe your experiences of being involved in these projects so far?

Incredibly personally rewarding and empowering, especially encouraging patients and staff to discuss issues around the violence reduction collaborative and the impact this has on all of us.

What are your thoughts on the value and importance of QI work within ELFT?

Incredibly important and valuable. I am getting positive feedback from patients who have noticed an improvement in their experience of being on the ward and I think they are also empowered by the changes!

What advice would you give to other project teams on how to involve service users effectively in QI projects?

To involve service users you must listen to what they are saying, and be seen to be acting on their feedback with support. This in turn will empower them to take more control of their destinies especially when they see positive change taking place.

Is there anything else you would like to share with others across ELFT about your experiences being involved in this work, that you haven’t yet mentioned?

Yes, with regards to the Violence Reduction Collaborative. I have personally benefited from talking about my own childhood experience of being brutalised by my father and have used this to encourage service users to express their collective feelings around being bullied or persecuted  or prejudiced against. Please remember, all bullies are cowards projecting their own internal struggles onto others.

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