Helping to improve hospital visits for kinship carers and those they care for

Our work with the Hospital Trust is helping to raise awareness of what a kinship carer is with staff which has resulted in a better patient experience for those children visiting the service.
Elderly man holding a young child at an event

During a group engagement session in November 2021 with members of a local voluntary group More than Grandparents, we received feedback about some of the issues kinship carers were facing when presenting at local hospital Children’s Accident and Emergency department.

Grandparents and carers explained that they were often questioned about their legal guardianship of the children they were caring for and asked inappropriate questions by reception staff and, on some occasions, by clinical staff.  They explained that this often left the children confused and upset.

To ensure that the hospital was made aware of these issues the engagement team facilitated a meeting between representatives of kinship carers and the lead nurse for patient experience based at Sunderland Royal Hospital.  The meeting allowed the carers to explain their concerns and highlight some of the situations they had faced over a period of time.

What difference did this make

As a result of this the trust agreed to put together an action plan to address the issues which has resulted in the raising of awareness of a kinship carer via several methods including a section added in the Trust’s safeguarding newsletter regarding what is a special guardianship order, the rights of the carer, consent, and PR and the inclusion of this in safeguarding supervisions with staff.  During carers week in June 2022 the Lead Patient Experience Nurse also led a promotional campaign on carers rights within the  Trust’s A&E departments.

In addition plans to train non-clinical staff training (e.g. reception staff in A&E) to raise awareness and to educate them about what the flags on the computer system mean and correct ways to speak to families coming into the trust.

Patient experiences have also been discussed at the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group and the Patient Experience Steering Group for awareness and to get message far reaching in the trust.

Finally, procedures have been put in place so if any staff member was to inappropriately make a safeguarding referral the safeguarding team would interject and advice the staff member accordingly.