A shout out to our colleagues enhancing the patient experience

South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) sites have been celebrating Patient Experience Week (26-30 April), as part of a worldwide movement to celebrate and share the many thousands of fantastic patient experiences taking place in hospitals every day.

The District’s patient experience officers (PEOs) were recognised for their tireless work ensuring patients and their carers feel welcomed, safe, looked after and empowered. These staff focus on elevating the patient experience by acting as a concierge service for visitors to SESLHD’s emergency departments (EDs) and COVID-19 assessment clinics.
Seven PEOs were posted to Sydney/Sydney Eye, St George, Prince of Wales and Sutherland hospitals last year, as part of the NSW Health Emergency Department Patient Experience initiative.

Joanne Fossilo, PEO, Prince of Wales Hospital, said she was motivated to apply for a PEO role, as she likes helping people. “I’ve spent a lot of time in hospital myself, and it’s nice if someone tells you what’s happening,” Ms Fossilo said.
“The introduction of PEOs to our ED has made a big difference. When people arrive, they’re often scared, and our role helps to provide them with the reassurance that they will get the help they need. We’re also able to help the staff – freeing them up to see to the tasks they need to prioritise.”
Sutherland Hospital’s PEOs were presented flowers at a morning tea to thank them for the outstanding work they do. Ms Leanne Horvat, Nurse Manager, Emergency Department, Sutherland Hospital, said: “We felt Patient Experience Week was a great opportunity to thank our patient experience officers who are such valued members of our team.”

Kerry Hayward, PEO, Sutherland Hospital, said she enjoys advocating for patients and their families in her role. “Patients often say they really appreciate having someone who is easily accessible who can help answer their questions and be a voice for them,” Ms Hayward said.

Ms Cherie Nelson, one of St George Hospital’s PEOs said: “It is important to me that we are delivering the best level of non-clinical care possible. We are often the first point of contact for people who are in a heightened state of emotion and it’s our responsibility to be empathetic, listen and support them while they are in our care.”

St George Hospital’s Emergency Department also celebrated Patient Experience Week with a morning tea, inviting ex-patient Greg Inglis and his wife Deidre to join the team and share their recent experience of coming to the ED.

Ms Melanie Lax, Nurse Manager, Emergency Department, said: “It was so nice for our ED staff to hear some lovely, positive feedback about their work and we are very grateful Greg and Deidre were able to join us for morning tea to share their story.”

atient Experience Officers Rohana Roche and Kerry Hayward