Grants awarded to improve patient experience

Improving the experience of bereaved families, working with patients to design self-care support for painful finger ulcers, and a care package to minimise sensory overload experienced by autistic people attending A&E are just three of the projects to receive funding from the Royal Free Charity in our latest funding round.

We invited staff at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust to submit applications for funding to improve the experience of their patients. Seven applications, ranging from £1,000 to £10,000, have been given the green light.

Jon Spiers, our chief executive, said: “Each of these projects has demonstrated its potential to make a real difference to the quality of care and support provided to patients. It’s thanks to the wonderful generosity of our supporters that we’re able to provide funding to turn these superb ideas into reality.”

The grants awarded are:

  • a £10,000 project to improve the area used by people who experience the death of a loved one at Barnet Hospital. The funding will be used to refurbish the viewing and family support areas so that bereaved families and relatives can begin their grieving journey in the best possible environment.
  • a study to co-design self-care opportunities and develop improvements in care for patients with scleroderma experiencing painful ulcers on their fingers, thumbs or toes. (£9,064 awarded)
  • A £10,000 pilot project to install two digital windows and large analogue clocks to counteract the lack of natural daylight in the adult assessment area of the Royal Free Hospital. The digital windows will help to address disruption to patients’ sleep patterns that particularly affects patients with dementia.
  • An initiative to provide sensory management packs to autistic patients or patients with learning disabilities who attend the emergency departments at Barnet Hospital or the Royal Free Hospital. These packs will help minimise the adverse effects of being in a busy, loud environment. (£8,640 awarded)
  • Support for the annual What Matters to You Day celebrated across the trust, including recognition for staff who have been identified as What Matters to You champions. (£1,000 awarded)
  • An initiative to provide purposeful activities for patients with dementia by providing a dementia resources box for in-patient wards with elderly patients. This aim of this project is to make a hospital experience more fulfilling and less debilitating for people with dementia. (£8,050 awarded)
  • A project to provide all wards at Barnet Hospital with sleep well packs that include disposable ear plugs and disposable eye masks. The project aims to improve the quality of sleep for patients and reduce disturbance at night which can be caused by the ward environment. (£1,938 awarded).

The charity set up a panel to assess the applications which included trust representation by Richard Chester, group deputy director of patient experience and Beth Brown, head of patient experience and involvement at Barnet Hospital.

Beth said: “I was delighted to play a small part in the process of the patient experience grants round, and it was really reassuring to get an insight into the charity’s fair and transparent process.
“I was also really blown away by the enthusiasm and commitment from the staff to improve the experience for as many of our patients as possible, and it was fantastic to be able to provide the charity with insight from our patients and their loved ones, as well as our staff, as to what the key priorities for the trust are.”

Richard Chester, group deputy director patient experience, said: “The question for us as leaders in healthcare is how do we make patient care a fundamentally better experience? This latest grant round provided an answer to that question; through providing an exciting opportunity for staff to take time to reflect on what would make a difference to a patient’s experience. In doing so the applications also considered the quality of care we provide, such as to communicatively vulnerable patients. The imagination and innovation were great to see and demonstrates that staff at RFL truly have the patient at heart.”