We are living in a world where life expectancy has continually increased as we have learnt to look after ourselves better and due developments in medicine and technology. The elderly represents a large portion of the population and are greatly susceptible to disease therefore our healthcare system must be able to support them and go the extra mile as their ability to look after themselves declines.
The reason for these increases is down cuts in social care budgets by councils. Social care and increased availability of an out of hour’s service can lead to better treatment for the elderly and relieve some of the strain on A&E. Additionally, especially during the colder months, being left in an ambulance whilst waiting to be admitted and ambulance trips in general result in poorer patient experience scores.
Jeremy Hunt said having a named GP for the elderly is the first step in overcoming the issue at hand. Moreover, GP’s are taking on extra responsibility for the frailest of patients.
What are the other ways of caring for an ageing population?
Evidenced Based Decision Making
Decisions can only be made based on facts and information, which allow a decision maker to calculate the chances of different outcomes occurring and thus choosing a path with the most favourable outcomes.
Henceforth, in attempting to make care fit for an ageing population, a good starting place is to ask them! Though, the BBC cites an increase in over 90s being taken to A&E, the World Health Organisation (WHO) defines anyone over the age of 65 as elderly.
To understand and receive maximum value and information from the elderly, the design and application of the tool(s) used to collect their feedback has to suit them so that it promotes the most engagement. Factors to take into consideration include:
- Text size;
- Application of images and other media;
- Patients ability to complete the survey;
- Language considerations;
- Technological applications.
Expanding on issues related to the application of technology, previously hospitals have gone tablet crazy, assuming they will instantly solve problems and have not considered their practical usability and benefits. Have a look at technology with a practical approach and a mind-set that assesses which technology(s) is best fit. Furthermore, the value of paper should not be disregarded, either.
Previously, DCC have supported and assisted patient experience projects at Trust level employing and tablets and kiosks as part of our solution. Volunteers used tablets to visit patients at their bedside to help them complete their patient experience forms and kiosks were scattered at various placed in the hospitals available to complete by those who have been discharged.
Business rules and validations ensured the patient experience forms were set up so the data submitted is accurate. The design of the forms was bespoke utilising appropriate colours, text sizes and images. Completed forms were exported to the Trust as raw data, which were analysed.
It is important to make the data actionable so that it drives positive change and development. An interactive dashboard represents the data in a visual and graphical format. Using the dashboard you are able to compare patient experience scores at ward level or trust level. Furthermore, the dashboard is able to accept related data sets such as infection control thus facilitating a cross check analysis to formulate better conclusions and justification of scores.
Patient experience is asking patients how they feel, natural language processing applies a scale of sentiment to the feedback identifying, in a paragraph, the different topics mentioned and the opinion towards them. DCC have covered NLP in depth, read about it here, here and even here!
Contact us today to learn more about the types of projects we have been involved in, we are also happy to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, book your free educational knowledge share workshop. (What is a workshop?).
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