ED patients share their thoughts

Posted 19 Sep 2016
Sarah Pearce (left) and Megan Greig (right) have been surveying ED patients

Westmead Hospital’s Emergency Department staff have been surveying patients as part of the Westmead Redevelopment planning process.

Staff asked about their experiences in the existing Westmead Hospital ED and ideas for the new adults ED in the central acute services building, which opens in 2020.

The intention of the survey is to capture insights that will be helpful for the planning and design process for the new hospital building. It will also be useful for the work underway to transition the Department, staff and services between the existing and new ED — results feeding into communication and information-sharing. In the short-term the feedback may also be able to affect minor changes that can happen before the relocation to the new building.

The survey includes the below questions:

  • When you arrive to ED what information do you look for? Do you know what triage means?
  • When you look at the space / area around you, what do you like about this space? If you could improve something what would you add/change?
  • What would make you more comfortable in this space?
  • What services would you like access to whilst in the department?
  • What do you value most about your healthcare experience in Emergency?

Sarah Pearce, Acting Clinical Nurse Educator in ED, said, “In terms of navigation, some of our respondents told us the first thing they saw when they arrived in ED was the staff, not the ED signs. This brings home the point that signage isn’t the answer to all navigational questions, challenges or opportunities to improve.”

“We need to think about how our patients, families and staff will move in and around new spaces. How do we, as staff, deliver services that can improve patient experiences? How can we design, build and furnish new spaces that don’t distract you, or impede you in any way, from finding someone to help or give you information?”

Suggestions for improvements to existing spaces included:

  • calls for individual controls that adjust lighting
  • closer food options, access to microwaves and kitchens especially at night-time, and free water
  • free wifi and battery charging points
  • improved seating and more space for visitors to sit next to beds.

“Our patients told us that it is important that they got help straight away, were shown kindness, received information and help quickly when they needed it, and knew what the steps were before they are discharged,” Sarah continued.

“There have been lots of comments about service delivery and the training and knowledge of staff—it’s not all about how pretty or flashy an ED is. If you don’t have high service levels and excellent people, the spaces mean nothing.”

Head of ED, Matt Vukasovic, said, “The responses build upon the knowledge and improvements made in recent refurbishments to the existing ED. We learned a lot through when we refurbished the short stay unit and Healthcare for Older Persons Early (HOPE) unit. That work really improved patient flow through our existing spaces.”

“As we get closer to opening the central acute services building we will continue to see where we can improve what we do in ED, how we do it, and how we can improve patient experiences”.

At last count, 50 surveys had been completed.