Patient experience and reducing health inequalities

Matrons should model good engagement with patients, carers and families, taking a proactive role in improving patient experience and reducing health inequalities. This should include routinely involving patients in their care and asking them, ‘What matters to you?’ rather than ‘What is the matter?’

NHS England’s Always Events methodology is one means of contributing to this, through co-production and collaborative partnership.

Measures matrons can take to lead the continuous improvement of patient experience and ensure positive outcomes of care include:

  • embedding NHS Improvement’s patient experience improvement framework, which includes the national staff surveys, headlines tool and the Friends and Family Test, throughout all the organisation’s processes to ensure learning from patient experience
  • promoting compassionate and approachable inclusive leadership, influencing staff to embrace experience of care across the organisation.

The patient experience framework focuses on key areas of leadership, culture, data collection and triangulation, and learning to deliver improvements and patient- centred programmes of care.

To ensure good patient experience, adopt a nurturing culture and implement consistent processes by which staff can learn from incidents, complaints and other forms of feedback. Staff must have the right skills and motivation to enable patient feedback to drive innovation and improvement work involving staff, patients, relatives and external stakeholders in decisions about service delivery.

The matron’s role in end-of-life care

How we care for the dying is an indicator of how we care for all sick and vulnerable people.30 This demonstrates the importance of ensuring care of the dying patient in hospital is the best it can be.

Matrons are well-placed to ensure the care of the dying person and their families is culturally sensitive and is the best it can be. End-of-life care is one of the key CQC inspection domains for trusts, demonstrating its importance. The national programme of work is based on Ambitions for palliative and end of life care (Department of Health 2008), which is a national strategy based on local actions. It is essential that matrons support their teams and can use the self-assessment tool to see how well wards, departments and services are doing against the national standards.

All trusts have taken part in the National Audit for Care at End of Life (NACEL), and matrons can use its results to develop service improvement plans for their areas. It is important that patient and carer experience for end-of-life care is used to develop and improve care, and matrons should review complaints and audits to do this.

Further information

Resources for matrons to provide support in improving end-of-life care:

Matron’s Handbook – next sections