Empathy

#MatExpAdvent-ures Day 22

In recent times, the NHS has become very driven by targets and statistics. Do you care more about whether you leave A&E in 3 hours 59 minutes (exactly) in order to avoid overstepping the 4 hour performance target, or do you care more about how you are treated and how health professionals make you feel?

Having a safe birth is obviously paramount but it is not the only factor. Having a positive experience is also very important. The effects of a bad experience can stay with a woman for life and drastically affect all the family. Addressing this is essential to #MatExp.

Whose Shoes? looks at issues from different perspectives. And aims to add a bit of sparkle 😉

We get everybody working together, listening to how other people feel. Starting to look at the issues from different perspectives. Developing empathy. It can be very powerful indeed.

Traditionally fathers-to-be have been left waiting anxiously outside the birth room

The modern equivalent

And there are lots of other people involved. How do they all feel?

It was very exciting working in partnership with the London Strategic Clinical Network and NHS England to develop bespoke maternity scenarios in order to trigger conversations for positive change. The #WhoseShoes scenarios were co-produced with real people. They always have been.

And then getting the real people in the room to discuss them

We were thrilled when the opportunity arose to make a film, commissioned by the London Strategic Clinical Network. I have always been very impressed by the Cleveland Clinic film which gives a real insight into how patients and staff in a hospital might feel. We set out to make a similar film about maternity experience

Florence had written a night-time brainstorm, while she was on call. I had turned it into one of the poems in #MatExp #WhoseShoes.

On the film you can hear Florence's own voice. It seems strange to see an actress walking down the hospital corridor, on her way to the scene of Flo's obstetric emergency...

We were invited to choose a mix of scenarios that we thought would lend themselves to portrayal in the film, with a view to helping health professionals to see how their behaviour impacts on the people they care for.

It was exciting to see this come alive in the film. Florence and I were annoyingly picky. The producers were very patient as we kept suggesting small tweaks and amendments. But we were all very pleased with the final result and the film was shortlisted in the Haelo awards.

It demonstrates graphically how small things make a real difference. Empathy and compassion are key to good health care.

I particularly like the cameo of the midwife using body language to assist a deaf lady in a birthing pool.

And other scenes that give real insights into the life of both women using maternity services and the staff who painstakingly provide them. Helping us walk in their shoes.

So we are nearing the end of our #MatExpAdvent-ures...

Please remember one simple key action: What you say, how you say it and how you act Matter. Join us to make a difference 😉 #MatExp #WhoseShoes 🙋🏻

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