16 March 2015

Service user and carer QI training

In February we ran our first bespoke QI training session for service users and carers. Service users, carers and people participation leads from all of the Trust’s directorates joined us at Trust HQ for a half day introduction to quality improvement methodology.

The group looked at how to turn a problem/quality issue into an aim which  can form the basis of a quality improvement project.  We used the Model for Improvement to help people think about the changes we can make that will result in improvement and importantly how we will know that any identified changes to our data are signs of improvement. All participants then developed an affinity diagram to map out a project aimed at improving the quality of inpatient catering services.

Affinity diagram

Click to enlarge this affinity diagram

It was an enjoyable session which included the interactive training exercise ‘The Parable of the Red Beads’ which captures all of the key principles that underline quality improvement.

We also ran an exercise called the ‘Marshmallow Challenge’ where teams attempted to build the tallest possible structure from spaghetti, marshmallows, string and masking tape. The aim being to teach people about learning from failure and using PDSA (Plan Do Study Act) cycles to test changes and learn from them each time.


A PDSA cycle – Click to enlarge

One of attendees shared a few thoughts at the end of the session:

“The training was helpful. Often we try to tackle projects all in one go and that can lead to failure. It’s tough to fail from but today has helped me understand how you can take small steps in a project to bring about quality improvement. If we fail with small tests we can learn from them and move on, taking one step at a time.

It’s vital to involve service users and carers in QI projects from beginning to end, if they are not involved then are the improvements really being made for them? Service users and carers have the skills and intelligence to get involved but they often get overlooked due to their illness.

A good rule is to treat people as we would wish to be treated”

All service users and carers in attendance have been invited to continue their learning and involvement in quality improvement at the Trust by joining the Wave 3 cohort for Improvement Science in Action training starting in June. The QI team will also be running similar bespoke training sessions for service users and carers in other Trust Directorates, the next one being held in the Forensic Service.


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