Madeley Practice has kindly shared the detailed feedback that they have received from service users and staffs about their experiences of the project.
Feedback from service users
Feedback questionnaires were sent out to all those people aged over 85 years who had received a visit and who remained registered with the practice. Of these, 66 questionnaires were returned (50%) and 88% of respondents stated that they had found the visit and assessment helpful. Free text comments regarding what people found helpful about the visit were submitted in many cases.
In all, 71 free text comments were received and these were categorised by theme. Interestingly, only 10 comments related to the provision of equipment or other specific actions. The remaining 61 comments related much more to the communication, information and ‘human’ aspects of the visits, including:
- Signposting to other information or services;
- Showing interest or concern for me;
- Offering advice, suggestions and reassurance;
- Helping to understand problems and solutions;
- Offering a clear point of contact to the surgery; and
- Being good company.
The vast majority of people who returned the questionnaires did not feel the visits could be improved. However, 6 responses did contain suggested changes for the visits. Of these:
- 3 people felt that the visits should be offered more often;
- 2 felt that perhaps the visits were not always necessary; and
- 1 person requested more information about the visits and the project as a whole.
Overall the staff involved felt that the project had gone very well. They commented that uptake by older people was very high and feedback very positive. Staff commented that the visits were very well received even when no specific interventions were needed, because the older people involved valued the personal and supportive approach. This impression was consistent with the feedback from older people reported above. Staff felt it was a very positive step to contact older people proactively because they felt that this group don’t always present to the surgery when they need help. They also felt that visiting people was very helpful because having more time and seeing the person in their home setting sometimes brought issues to light that would not necessarily readily emerge during a traditional appointment at the surgery.
The main problems that were reported by staff were that it was sometimes difficult to contact people and to organise the practicalities of the visits, particularly liaising to enable the presence of family or carers at the visit. Staff also found it difficult when some older people asked if they could have another follow up visit, because the scheme was not set up with the capacity to deliver this. Some staff also found the data collection and entry on to the clinical system rather onerous.
The main changes to the project that the staff suggested were:
- It should be presented to the public as a ‘service’ not a ‘project’;
- The Tilburg questionnaire had some limitations and did not always seem to exactly identify people who would benefit from a visit;
- They needed more administrative time than they expected to organise and run the project.
The key pieces of advice that existing staff would like to give to new teams planning to start such a project were:
- Don’t under estimate the time needed to do it properly;
- Be prepared to be flexible about the timings of the visits in order to make sure that families and carers can be present whenever possible.
To read the full project report click here