Healthwatch Lancashire volunteers and staff take part in PLACE training

PLACE (Patient-led assessments of the care environment) is an annual snapshot that gives hospitals, hospices and day treatment centres a clear picture of how their environment is seen by those using it, and how they can improve it.

Throughout 2015, annual PLACE assessments will be conducted across all trusts and hospitals in Lancashire with help from staff and volunteers from Healthwatch Lancashire.

Healthwatch Lancashire volunteers and staff members attended a PLACE training session this month, delivered by Graham Jacob from Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and Andrea Brown from Lancashire Care Foundation Trust. The session was positively received and was particularly interesting for those who had not taken part in PLACE before.

The PLACE training session has given Healthwatch volunteers and staff members the knowledge and skills they need to enter healthcare environments and assess privacy, dignity, food, cleanliness and general building maintenance standards. As well as this, from 2015, PLACE will also assess how suitable healthcare environments are for dementia patients.
Good environments matter. Every NHS patient should be cared for with compassion and dignity in a clean, safe environment. Where standards fall short, they should be able to draw it to the attention of managers and hold the service to account. PLACE assessments will provide motivation for improvement by providing a clear message, directly from members of the public, about how the environment or services might be enhanced.

The assessments take place every year, and results are reported publicly to help drive improvements in the care environment. The results show how hospitals are performing nationally and locally.

Healthwatch Lancashire employee, Amanda, said “As an experienced PLACE assessor, I found the session clarified my role and gave me the confidence to accurately score wards and undertake visits within hospitals”.

Healthwatch Lancashire volunteer, David, said “The evening was extremely interesting and valuable”.

Thank you to all volunteers and staff members of Healthwatch Lancashire who have given up their spare time to help improve healthcare environments.