by Michael Salter
Way back in February, volunteers based at Rosewood and at Duncan Macmillan House were treated to PLACE audit training sessions! At least we would get to know what the acronym means. Delivered by Paul Theed, (Modern Matron, Specialist Services Directorate Quality Team) in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere we soon knew that Patient Led Assessments of the Care Environment are an important part of maintaining high standards in the delivery of care in our hospitals. The challenging, busy and frequently staff-pressured life on our hospital wards, can lead to a culture of prioritising. Standards in this specialised care environment may slip BUT frequently they are kept to a very high level and this should be acknowledged and praised, just as much as focussing on failings that must be remedied.
No sooner was the training session completed at Rosewood, than Joanna Rapson was all over the volunteers like a rash. No way was she going to miss harnessing our enthusiasm for discovering long-term lingering dust, non-laminated notices, damaged flooring etc., etc. Quite quickly, the long list for volunteer inspectors for the PLACE audits in Mental Health establishments was filled.
The next 10 weeks saw a flurry of activity under the guidance and direction of Paul Theed. A small army of volunteers was dispatched periodically to Highbury Hospital, Wells Road, Bassetlaw Hospital, Millbrook Unit and the QMC, where we were able to put the training to good use and reinforce the skills with which we had been imparted. This has been a most interesting and tremendously important task in which we volunteers have been able to contribute. Now we all hope that the patients and staff in these vital Health Services will benefit from the inspections, through recognition of some really good practice as well as the improvements and changes that are being implemented.