If someone asked you “What matters to you?” how would you answer?
I would answer family, friends, health, to do a good job and to take early retirement!
But what about a child? We all make assumptions with children and if we answered for them our answers would probably resonate Xbox’s, phones, mine craft.
BUT you would be very surprised by what they do say when given the chance. The answers are captivating and not as you would expect.
The staff in Ward 15, our paediatric ward, have begun asking children ‘what matters to you?’ and encouraging them to display a poster near to/above their bed.
We noticed themes coming through.
- Having mummy with me
- Smiley doctors and nurses
- Games and toys
- Getting better
- Good food
- TV and DVDs
- Friends and family
But most of all OUR FISH!!!!!
We also noticed some important and personal issues.
- ‘ECG machine is very important as it records your heart beat and is helping to fix my funny turns’
- ‘Important that I know what I am doing when injecting and having decisions explained to me. I am now a diabetic’
- ‘Miss Hawkins knows where to put my Botox!’
- ‘Nurses are very helpful when you are embarrassed’
- ‘Oxygen to help me get better’
These are not just linked to hospital stays – ‘I love to protect our planet.’ And ‘I love to play football’. This was from a girl and I am sure you were sitting thinking this was a typical boy answer!
SO how did this all begin?
Jen Rogers is the paediatric lead nurse for Yorkhill and when she was completing the fellowship for the Scottish Patient Safety Programme she started to think about asking children ‘what matters to you?. This became her improvement project.
WMTM is 3 step approach.
- Asking what matters
- Listening to what matters
- Doing what matters
This is a very easy way to find out about your patient and their wider world and is particularly important in paediatrics with the focus on GIRFEC (Getting it Right For Every Child). It does not require complex grants and funding as all that is required is pens, paper and commitment.
This is not just the ‘fluffy stuff’. It is linked very well to quality, finance and patient and staff experience – a truly person centred approach.
So with this in mind please ask yourself “What do you know about your patients?” and what matters to them.
With all the competing priorities, new initiatives and increasing work load you may be sitting thinking ‘where will we get the time to do this and will it make a difference?’
Rose’s story will answer this for you. Rose needed a nurse to stay with her at all times as she was a lady with dementia. She was agitated and was at high risk of falling. She was not able to verbalise her worries and this made her care challenging and made her anxious. The ward staff asked Rose’s niece to do a ‘what matters to me?’ From this it was evident that it was her rosary beads that mattered to her, seeing them and feeling them.
Being the ever so neat and tidy nurses we are, with HAI inspections and housekeeping to see to, the beads were nowhere to be seen and were tidied away in Roses drawer out of her reach. The nursing staff had no idea and very quickly made sure that Rose always had her beads. The result was astounding. Rose began to settle and soon after she no longer required 1:1 care because her falls risk dramatically reduced. Why? She was not trying to get out the bed to find her rosary.
SO do you know the story behind your patients? Could the ‘fractured femur’ in bed 6 actually miss her grandchildren dearly and want to have their pictures displayed. Did the ‘man in bed 11 with a UTI fight in WW2? What matters to me lets you know more about the person you are caring for. It has no prescriptive nature and gives them the opportunity to display what matters to them in whichever way they like. We need to flip healthcare and change the question from ‘what’s the matter with you? To ‘what matters to you?’
This allows us to gain a much truer understanding of the people we look after and I challenge you all to ask the next person you care for ‘what matters to you?’.
Caroline Doidge is a Play Specialist on Ward 15 DGRI and Sharron Mcgarva is a Staff Nurse and trainee Improvement Advisor for NHS D&G