New placemats help patients receive right information at the right time

Virgin Care colleagues at Haslemere Community Hospital are helping inpatients staying on the hospital’s ward feel the difference after introducing new bedside placemats which summarise important ‘need to know’ information during their hospital stay.

Feedback suggested that patients often felt overwhelmed by the amount of information they received on arrival to hospital or didn’t receive the information they wanted at the right time.

The new placemats, which are put by every bedside, include names of staff looking after them plus key ward details such as meal-times and visiting times. They also help keep people safe and well by providing information on helping them avoid falls or pressure damage.

Virgin Care, which runs Haslemere Hospital on behalf of the local NHS, funded the development of the placemats through its Feel the Difference Fund, money the company invests each year in improving services through small changes led or suggested by frontline teams.

Nurses at the hospital have been trialling the placemats during May and feedback has been positive with both staff and patients feeling it is a useful tool.

Verity Pearce, Community Hospital Matron at Haslemere Community Hospital, said: “These information placemats are enabling us to improve the patient journey from arrival to discharge. When a patient first comes into hospital there is a lot of information to take in. Often the little things that you want to know get forgotten. By providing these placemats, our patients should feel better informed during their stay.”

Sarah Wardle, Head of Community Care and Rehabilitation Services in Surrey for Virgin Care, added: “I firmly believe that we need to listen to our colleagues, who know better than anyone the patients and the challenges they face. The information placemats are neither high-tech or overly sophisticated, yet they are ensuring we communicate well and effectively to those who use our service.”

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