I’ve been on an incredible journey these past few months, the most striking element being the sheer number of people ready and willing to help. Busy people, all with their own agendas but still finding time to share their knowledge and experience. They see the potential in Mycarematters and the difference it can make. It’s a simple concept, people get the idea very quickly and rarely do I have a conversation these days without someone sharing a story about the hospital care they or a loved one experienced that could have been improved had the hospital staff known more about them.
And now we are starting to put Mycarematters through its paces in two community hospitals. I’m talking to patients and their families, inviting them to register and work with me to store the information they’d like to share with healthcare professionals. And I’m talking to staff, going through the process of accessing and downloading a person’s information.
Testing the processes is an important aspect of these trials, but the acid test will be to see whether the increased level of information available to the staff will make a difference to patients’ outcomes.
Those stories I keep hearing rarely refer to the quality of the medical care. We’ve all learned to expect an excellent standard of care from the NHS. But the issues that can cause so much upset are the seemingly small things that can have such a big impact on our quality of life.
Here are just a couple of the stories I’ve been told in recent weeks:
“My Mum has mild dementia and when she was admitted to hospital her infection made her more confused than normal. She was unable to get to the bathroom unaided and the staff didn’t recognise her agitated behaviour as a need for the loo, so she wet the bed. She was therefore assumed to be incontinent and was put into pads. It was a week before I realised what was going on, and once I had made it clear that Mum was not incontinent, the staff helped her to the bathroom.”
“Dad is totally compus mentus but profoundly deaf. In the rush to get him to hospital his hearing aid got left behind. He struggled to hear anything the staff said to him, so they assumed he had some kind of cognitive impairment and stopped explaining what was going on. By the time I got there a couple of days later he was extremely distressed and anxious.”
In both these examples, it is my belief that, had these people been given the opportunity to set up a Mycarematters record and store the appropriate information,and had staff accessed that information, these errors would have been completely avoidable. The staff would have been able to provide more effective care, and the patient would have recovered more quickly and been able to get out of hospital sooner.
Let’s see if these trials prove me right!
The system is up and running if you would like to have a look. All the security features are in place so you can register with confidence. And if you choose to create a Mycarematters record for yourself or someone you care for, please complete the short survey at the end to let us know what you think. Thank you. Go to Mycarematters