Sharon Laverton of United Lincolnshire Hospitals reflects on marking WMTY Day within Pilgrim Hospital and the impact it had on staff.

I, and two of my colleagues are active members of the Palliative End Of Life Care (PEOL) forum. The most recent meeting with Tommy Whitelaw, ALLIANCE National Lead for Caring and Outreach as guest speaker highlighted to us the What Matters to You movement (WMTY) (this link will take you away from our website). It moved us all so much that we wanted to make a difference in our team within the Pilgrim Hospital of United Lincolnshire Hospitals(this link will take you away from our website). We appreciate this is a difficult area to bring a project like this on board however it is probably the most important as the decisions we make in wards A and E can affect the patient and their families forever. We wanted staff to see beyond the patients presenting complaint and to explore what really matters to them.

We therefore decided to mark WMTY day on 9 June. We designed some posters to put up all around our department to encourage patients to talk to us and highlight that we are here to listen. We also had badges for staff to wear to prompt the question.

I felt we needed to take this a stage further and look into what matters to our colleagues. If we can look at what really matters to us then this can encourage us to seek this out in our patients. This will ultimately improve the patients experience and their outcomes from our team. So we created a display board for staff to add what matters to them.

On WMTY day we hosted an event to increase awareness of the movement amongst staff and to encompass other areas such as staff wellbeing. We shared valuable resources, distributed wellbeing goodies, and encouraged staff to write down their feelings and hang it on a tree. As an extra treat, there was hand and neck massages delivered by Sam Lewis.

Staff came from various places around our hospital and shared stories and engaged with one another. Also invited were our well- being teams, safe guarding team, and the chaplaincy. All staff got involved, whether that be with sharing a WMTY message, or having a hand massage and taking a period of reflection.  Staff felt comfortable to open up in the safe environment we had created, and sign post each other to support when needed. They felt this would not have happened had the event not taken place. Some even felt safe enough to cry

From feedback received, the day was a success. It has helped many staff and given others the chance to off load. It provoked many meaningful conversations. It also acted as a safety net to some struggling staff members that they may not have received help. It also allowed everyone to talk about how we can look into the way we look after and care for our patients as well as embracing the core values of ULH NHS Trust. Many conversations were had amongst staff about the WMTY approach and how it can be taken forward.

We are realistic and appreciate that not all staff find this comfortable and that with the limitations that we have in the department, and the time scales we have to meet that this is a very difficult area to promote and encourage this invaluable topic. However, we also realise that there will be times when this will work, and that in itself is better than not attempting it at all.

This case study was written by Sharon Laverton, Clinical Educator for Pilgrim A and E

To read a case study on how WMTY is being embedded in ULH through staff training and quality improvement initiatives click here