Patients Encouraged to “Speak Up” for Quality Care

Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) is encouraging patients to “SpeakUp” and have a stronger voice in improving their healthcare experience at the hospitals.

Launched to coincide with Patient Safety Week from 5 – 9 March 2007, the SpeakUp campaign urges patients to ask questions, be involved in their own care and know their rights and responsibilities. BHB is also encouraging patients to speak up about the standard of service they receive at the hospital by participating in a Patient Satisfaction Survey.

Director of Quality and Risk Management, Judy Richardson, said, “Evidence shows that patients who are involved in their care and ask questions have better outcomes. People may not realise the power they have to make their own care a positive experience. Our goal with this campaign is to provide patients with information and advice on their rights so they feel equipped to be actively engaged in their care. We want everyone to know they have a right to understand their care plan, to ask questions of their healthcare team and to access information about their treatment.”

Brochures and information sheets on patients’ rights and responsibilities will be provided to members of the community when they receive care at the hospitals, either as in or outpatients.

“We are also encouraging people to speak up about their care through our Patient Satisfaction Survey,” adds Ms. Richardson. “It is a further step towards being a listening, responsive hospital, partnering with our patients to improve the quality of care.”

Administered by Press Ganey, a company that undertakes similar initiatives for some of America´s leading hospitals, the survey is completely confidential. It will give patients a stronger voice in improving care at the hospital and allow BHB to benchmark its results against overseas hospitals. Surveys are being sent out daily to randomly chosen patients who have received either in or outpatient care at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

Mrs. Richardson says, “We are pleased to be working with Press Ganey, a leader in the field for over 20 years. We say our purpose is to provide international quality care – this survey will provide critical data that can be measured against hospitals overseas. It will focus our efforts on areas seen by patients as needing improvement, while allowing us to recognise staff who are providing great care. It will help us improve standards of care for Bermuda.”

Members of the public are encouraged to fill out the Patient Satisfaction Survey, if they receive one, and return it using the enclosed, self-addressed, stamped envelop.

The launch of SpeakUp, which will include lobby displays and literature about patient rights and responsibilities, will take place on:
· March 5, 11:00am to 2:00pm- KEMH
· March 6, 11:00am to 2:00pm- MWI

About the SpeakUp Campaign

Following guidelines established by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organisations (JCAHO), the SpeakUp campaign empowering patients to improve their care and prevent potential healthcare errors by knowing their rights and responsibilities.

How do you SpeakUp about your care?
· Ask questions- it’s your body and you have a right to understand medical decisions and treatment choices, including possible risks and side affects
· Pay attention- don’t hesitate to confirm you are receiving appropriate treatment or the correct medication
· Educate yourself- find out about your diagnosis, learn about your medical tests and understand your treatment plan.
· Choose an advocate- when you are unable to be actively involved in your treatment, designate a trusted friend or relative to speak up for you
· Know what medications you take- medication errors are the most common healthcare mistakes.
· Participate in all decisions about your treatment- you are the centre of the healthcare team!
· Call the BHB hotline if you have any concerns about your care at the hospitals: 291-SAFE.

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