We could not have asked for a more positive response to the Mycarematters system during our trials at East Surrey Hospital (Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust). The Display Boards were still being fixed in place behind the beds in two wards, when a visiting daughter commented: ‘It makes Mum a person again’. And staff ‘got it’ immediately, appreciating the value of the information being conveniently to hand and accessible by everyone interacting with the patient.
We chose to introduce a hybrid system of paper and digital, because not everyone wants to use the internet or has access to it, and it is vital that everyone who wishes to create a Mycarematters profile for themselves or their loved one has the opportunity to do so. The Display Boards allow the profile, whether printed out or written by hand, to be referred to at-a-glance, and also provide space to write further notes, and to display a photo.
Lorraine Kutner, from Redhill, who has been visiting her dad, John, said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea because dad is not able to express his likes and dislikes, what kind of person he is. The board shows his preferences from music to food, a little bit about his personality as he is a very private person, which is important for hospital staff to know. I think it’s a really nice insight into my dad.”
Of course, creating a record of a person’s likes and dislikes is not a new idea, but where the Mycarematters system differs is in enabling the information to be a) available from the minute a person is admitted to the ward and b) quickly and easily accessible to all those interacting with the person.
To achieve the first point, it is important that people are made aware that they can create a Mycarematters profile in advance of a hospital visit, and to either keep a printout in their hospital bag or ensure that their Mycarematters code is easily visible (we offer personalised keyfobs for this purpose). Creating an online profile has the advantage of being able to be updated and reprinted whenever necessary, and can be retrieved from anywhere in the world with the person’s name, date of birth and Mycarematters code.
And for the second point, we have designed it to fit on one side of an A4 sheet and have created a number of display options to ensure it can easily be printed out and viewed by everyone interacting with the patient. (It can also be viewed on any phone, tablet or laptop and we shall be working with hospitals to integrate with their IT systems, but that will not happen overnight.
If you work in a hospital where you feel Mycarematters could help with your person-centred care, please get in touch. And if you are an individual anticipating a hospital stay at some point (and aren’t we all), or care for someone who struggles to communicate, then do create a Mycarematters profile (it’s free!), and be sure to bring it to the attention of hospital staff in the event of a hospital stay.