Lightburn Hospital leads the way in visiting

Lightburn Hospital was the first adult hospital site to introduce person centred visiting in the summer last year, and while person centred visiting is being rolled out across the organisation, SN spoke with Ann Docherty, Lead Nurse, from Lightburn Hospital about the lessons they have learned over the past few months.

SN - What was the improvement you were trying to make?
Ann – To gain information by consistently having introductory meetings with relatives and patients on admission, and discussing person centred visiting as part of that process.

Above, Ann Docherty

SN - What changes did you test and implement?
Ann - With each new admission we had an introductory meeting with relatives and patients. We developed a guide to introductory meetings to help staff and make the experience uniform, incorporating an explanation of person centred visiting into this meeting.

A charge nurse tried this approach with a patient and family member who had found their previous inpatient experience difficult. The charge nurse met with the family member on admission, talked with them about the ward, what they could expect, and what their preference was about involvement.

The meeting only took 20 minutes and the charge nurse felt that after that meeting, the patient, family member and staff all had a positive experience of their inpatient stay.

SN - What improvements did you achieve?
Ann - Communication improved between staff and patients/relatives
• More structured information-gathering
• Reduction in complaints
• Positive attitudes/relationship with staff and family

SN - What did you learn from these improvements?
Ann - We learnt that small changes help, supporting staff and ensuring they understand the reason for the changes is a must. We learnt that by taking ownership in approaching families early to seek information helped relieve some of their fears and stresses, building a better relationship with the ward staff.

SN - What recommendations do you have to share with others?
Ann - I think the ward has benefitted, staff have seen improvements in communication with families. The initial concerns from staff about person centred visiting was the potential for visitors coming in at all hours night and day, however in practice this did not happen. I feel that introductory meetings are of great benefit to any ward and improve communication, which in turn improves quality of person centred care for patients.

For more information about person centred visiting, visit: or contact Rachel Killick, Lead Clinical Improvement Coordinator – Person Centred Care, [email protected]

Guide to introductory meetings
1) Introduce ourselves and advise them that we would like to have a quick introductory meeting.
2) Inform them of ward telephone number/consultant name/ward round day/time. Advise laundry procedure.
3) Quick overview of patient mobility/cognition prior to admission. Discuss possible delirium and effects may have on progress.
4) Quick overview of rehab process/who is involved i.e. Physio/OT etc and discuss the patient’s aim re: home/long term care/intermediate care.
5) Discuss person centred visiting and involve patient in this process.
6) Ask if any POA or guardianship and request papers.
7) Ask if any questions/concerns.