When Solent discovered Slam!
Experience of Care week runs from 24 April – 28 April 2023 and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing and innovative work that is happening across health and social care. It’s also a chance to share and explore the different ways in which we can improve the experiences of care for patients, families, carers and staff.
Ophelia Watson, Head of Experience of Care at Solent NHS Trust, describes her ambitious plans to kickstart something different this year as part of Solent’s Experience of Care week celebrations.
Ophelia says: "I wanted to showcase something creative, brave and innovative to mark the week. As healthcare providers we still have to use our usual routes of gathering feedback such as the Family Friends Test (FFT), complaint surveys or feedback forms. but as someone who relishes on seeking diverse ways of gathering feedback, I felt it was time to switch it up a bit.
"Following on from a successful service evaluation with our Child & Family service whereby I used Slam poetry as a medium to gather feedback from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic parents who have children with additional needs accessing the service, I thought why not bring creative and literary arts to our practice. Slam poetry is stage-based performance poetry, and it incorporates several key elements spoken word poetry, performance, audience participation and competition but it’s important to note that we were not there to compete.
"Instead it provides a unique opportunity for people from marginalised groups to tell their story. The whole idea was to establish what additional support families from these backgrounds might require to make best use of the services offered.
"I captured the parent's feedback via semi structured interviews and I the analysed the responses they gave using a thematic analysis approach. Later, the results and emerging themes were co-produced into their individual poems which they performed to a live audience at the Slam Poetry event at Portsmouth Central Library. The feedback from both the community and NHS colleagues was phenomenal - Clare Smith, Consultant Practitioner and Clinical Lead for Child & Family service wrote:
‘A huge thank you and well done for the fantastic service evaluation you have carried out on the experiences of black and minority ethnic families in accessing our services, which culminated in the powerful slam poetry event that you hosted today with the Moriah support group. The personal stories and poems from the families who presented were truly moving and I have learned so much from hearing their experiences. The event also stimulated so many others to share their stories, too, and we had a rich discussion about what families from black and ethnic minority backgrounds specifically need when they come to us for support. The event also enabled those families to be listened to, and it was so encouraging to see that you had given them such a safe and empowering space to share their experiences both with us and with each other. Thank you!’
"This week we are hosting an online arts in healthcare session where we have invited community partners and colleagues from Southern Health and Solent to discuss ways in which we can use creative and literary arts in our practices to gather feedback and to support one another. I have also been asked to record a poem for the Hope Conference this week which was co produced with other health care colleagues. The poems we co-produced were based on the theme of - Beyond the Data.
"I am so excited about offering alternative platforms for people to be able to express themselves. We are all different and Experience of Care week reminds us that to get different results you sometimes need to try different approaches and so that’s one of my commitments for this coming week and year.”