West Suffolk Hospital wards improve ‘family carer friendly’ rating

Two wards at West Suffolk Hospital have received a silver recognition award by local charity Suffolk Family Carers for staff commitment to supporting patient carers in a hospital setting.
In September 2017 West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust was recognised as a whole with a Family Carer Friendly Hospital Award, with eight wards and its outpatient department at WSFT also receiving special recognition for the care and commitment provided.

Now ward G4, a frail elderly ward, and G8, a stroke ward, have been upgraded from a bronze to silver Suffolk Family Carers award, to recognise best practice such as staff’s good engagement and communication, the use of proactive and trained carer champions, and very flexible visiting times for family carers.

Family carers have access to a range of support at West Suffolk Hospital such as extended visiting times, information packs, including a badge identifying them so that staff know they are the right person to talk to about the patient’s care and treatment. One to one support for family carers is also provided by Suffolk Family Carer support and information workers who operate throughout the hospital.

Front row left to right: Jo Floyd, ward manager on ward G8 and Julie Fountain, lead nurse for dementia and frail elderly at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust accepting a Suffolk Family Carers silver award for ward G8. Back row left to right: Suzie Stephens, professional training lead, Rachel Johnson, family care support worker, and Hayley Hancock, head of adult services at Suffolk Family Carers.

Julie Fountain, lead nurse for dementia and frail elderly at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are really proud to show our continued commitment to family carers and our staff’s efforts to make their stay as easy as possible whilst they attend to the needs of their loved one.

“These two wards have demonstrated the breadth and quality of the help on offer for family carers and we hope to continue working with Suffolk Family Carers to improve our care across the Trust.

“It is crucial for our patients’ health and wellbeing that they stay connected to those closest with them while they are in hospital, which is why family carers play a vital role in a patient’s recovery. It can be a stressful time and ensuring we help carers cope is just as important as the care we provide our patients.”

Hayley Hancock, head of adult services at Suffolk Family Carers, said: “The award helps celebrate good practice with carers. It is fantastic that West Suffolk Hospital recognises carers needs and are committed to maintaining and improving support for their carers’ right across the hospital.

“It is crucial that family carers are offered support, in what can sometimes be a worrying time, while they are in the hospital environment.

“Congratulations to West Suffolk Hospital overall, wards G4, G8 and Julie Fountain, who should be proud of their achievements and their work in partnership with us and others so they can provide the best support for carers.”

If you think you are a family carer and would like advice, information and support, please call Suffolk Family Carers information line on 01473 835477.