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Five shortlisted for national awards: Personalisation of Care - Patient Diaries

We are delighted that Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHNT) has been represented by five finalists at the Patient Experience National Network (PENN) today.

Five projects were entered into the awards, which celebrate the delivery of outstanding patient experience. All five applications were shortlisted in at least one category, with the #letsbeopen campaign shortlisted in two.

The projects shortlisted are:

  • Bereavement Bags, shortlisted in the Support for care givers, friends and family category
  • Healthy Bones Mobile Unit, shortlisted in the Bringing patient experience closer to home category
  • #letsbeopen Campaign – Empowering care in partnership, shortlisted in the Strengthening the foundation / Turning it around when things go wrong category
  • Patient Diaries in Intensive Care, shortlisted in the Personalisation of care category
  • ‘SignLive’ – Providing patients, visitors and staff with more choice for hearing services, shortlisted in the Communicating Effectively with patients and Families category

In the lead up to the awards, we have been looking at each unique project and the positive impact it has had on patient experience. Today, we are focusing on the impact of Patient Diaries in Intensive Care.

Intensive care patients frequently experience memory loss, nightmares and delusional memories. Some may also develop symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The combination of symptoms which can affect the patient and their relatives / carers after exposure to critical care is known as Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS).

The use of Patient Diaries has emerged as a valuable tool to fill in memory gaps and to promote psychological recovery. In December 2016, our Intensive Care Unit (ICU) introduced Patient Diaries as a method to try and reduce the impact of psychological trauma following a stay in ICU. Diaries offer a simple yet very effective way of helping patients understand and come to terms with what has happened to them whilst they have been critically-ill.

Inacurate memories of intensive care have been associated with anxiety, depression and PTSD. These diary entries can help to fill the gaps in the patients’ recollection, thereby replacing delusional memories with factual information. The diaries offer a written narrative of the patient experience through the eyes of the healthcare professional and their loved ones. Staff and patients’ families / carers are encouraged to document the patients’ treatment and recovery.

Equipping patients with a better understanding of what has happened to them whilst in ICU can also help them to set realistic goals for recovery and minimise the risk of adverse long-term problems.

One of the fundamental aims of the diaries is to offer the platform for patients to be able to continue to document their recovery journey. Therefore, the diary is given to the patient or their loved ones when the patient is discharged to the ward. On the back of each diary is a telephone number which patients and families can call if they would like the opportunity to talk about their diary.   

The feedback received from patients and their relatives so far has been excellent. Sharing patient feedback early on with our staff has also encouraged staff to use the diaries regularly as no words are more powerful than those of a patient.

Patient diaries actually form just one part of a whole range of activities and interventions that the Trust is using to try and prevent PICS and assist with a good recovery for these patients.

We are incredibly proud to have had five fantastic projects shortlisted at the PEN awards.

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