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The challenge of communication – why it matters #hellomynameis by Sally Deacon

20 June 2017

By our nature we are communicators, we trade information using a range of communication methods. When we are sick, feeling vulnerable, needing care, communication forms a central element in ensuring the quality and safety of the care we receive meets our needs. It can be hard for health professionals to get it right, when the volume of work is ever increasing, when the supporting structures are a bit shaky, when a multitude of specialists and professionals are involved, when you have never met the consumer before, when the information you need to give the consumer never seems to appear in a timely manner.
The consumer feels the same way, this is when a smile and a greeting can mean the world and can often unlock the answers required to ensure the quality and safety of the care received is just that little bit better.
Dr Kate Granger, a registrar in geriatric medicine, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2013 and passed away in 2016.
In one of her many stays in hospital she made the stark observation that many staff looking after her did not introduce themselves before delivering her care. It felt incredibly wrong that such a basic step in communication was missing.

Both her and her husband decided to start a campaign, primarily using social media initially, to encourage and remind healthcare staff about the importance of introductions in healthcare.

The twitter handle #hellomynameis and blog https://drkategranger.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/hellomynameis/

Within two years the campaign had won the backing of more than 400,000 doctors, nurses, therapists, receptionists and porters across more than 90 organisations in the UK and in 2014 a number of administrators and clinicians made Change Day pledges in Australia to adopt the #hellomynameis challenge. Canberra Hospital and Health Services adopted the challenge in 2015.

Kate’s belief that introductions are about making a human connection between one human being who is suffering and vulnerable, and another human being who wishes to help. They begin therapeutic relationships and can instantly build trust in difficult circumstances.
Health providers around the world have adopted many approaches based on the #hellomynameis campaign, it remains a simple approach. Many providers have short You Tube videos played from their websites and in waiting rooms, on screen savers internally, some have used posters and badges.

Below are a number of YouTube videos providers have developed to demonstrate how they have implemented the campaign:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXDjim_ogx0 – Western Health, Australia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwCTeeOtl_Q – Southern Health & Social Care, Scotland
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9EgBmiy9Jg – Royal Cornwall Hospital, England
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoRMDlG1www – The Chesterfield Royal, England
http://www.belfasttrust.hscni.net/LaunchofHellomynameisCampaign.htm – Belfast Trust, N.Ireland

Kate viewed the #hellomynameis as the first rung on the ladder to providing truly person-centred, compassionate care. We agree.

Further resources for communicating with health professionals are found here:

Sally Deacon
Manager, Consumer and Community Participation

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