December 7, 2022

Executive Patient Safety Walk Arounds

Northern Health’s Executive Patient Safety Walk Arounds create opportunities for staff and patients to directly engage with members of the Northern Health Executive and discuss the quality of care being provided.

The walks were paused during the height of COVID-19, but recommenced last week at Broadmeadows Hospital. As part of the visit to Broadmeadows, Executives also visited McLellan House Residential Care.

Williams Akengbowa, Acting Nurse Unit Manager, McLellan House Extended Care, said the walk around was a really good exercise.

“It created opportunities for the Executive to have a better knowledge about the facility, and to provide suggestions and advice on ways to make the residential facility as homely as possible for the residents,” he said.

“Having members of the Executive around, we are able to tell them directly what our needs are, instead of sending them an email,” he said.

“McLellan House is the resident’s home, we are the visitors. We are coming in to support them and meet their daily needs, so the environment is really important – how can we make it homelier and more attractive for the residents.”

“Staff were able to voice their concern directly to the Executive without fear and the Executives received them with good hearts.”

Lisa Carter, Director of Nursing and Operations, Aged Care and Mental Health, said the walk arounds help to boost staff morale, because immediate action can be taken to improve patient care and the environment in which staff work in.

“Much to our pleasure, the very next day, contractors came and were cleaning up the gardens, cutting down and pruning trees,” she said.

“There is a lot more to happen than just the garden, but the fact that staff saw instant action is a really good start.”

The walk arounds also provide an opportunity for mental health and aged care staff to meet the Executive team.

“I found it very beneficial as a new team member, because I met a number of people I wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to meet,” Lisa said.

“Often, within healthcare organisations, when you have Executive involvement, staff might feel that they have to polish themselves up, put on their best face, and we almost learn to hide the things that aren’t good.”

“But this experience was the total opposite. It was about telling the Executives what the problems are, how can they help, what needs to be done to rectify things, what would we like to see. As someone who is new to Northern Health, I found that it was such a flip compared to previous experiences.”

Clare McCarthy, Director, Quality Safety and Patient Experience, said, “It was great to be able to run our Executive Patient Safety Walk Around, as it’s been quite some time,” she said.

“Broadmeadows was so welcoming — Unit 2, Day Procedure and Endoscopy, and our new colleagues at McLellan House — were so engaged, identified safety problems and are committed to improvements.”