Patient and Family Centered Care Programmes: My Talk at The Kings Fund


David Festenstein  with Beverley Fitzsimons who was the Programme Lead at The King’s Fund for the Event

Listen to David’s talk about his Patient Centred Care Experience (a presentation to The King’s Fund). Note it takes a few moments before the recording begins.

Patient and Family Centered Care: Lessons Learned

In February this year, I was invited to give a talk at The King’s Fund about my patient experience in the light of recovering from a stroke back in August 2008 which paralysed the whole right side of my body and left me unable to walk. The emphasis of the talk was about the way in which health professionals engaged with me and what impact this had on me in terms of encouraging me to drive my recovery process. I began my talk with  how I kept a diary and a journal in hospital, where I recorded my self management approach, as well as being really curious about the way in which health professionals supported me on a day by day basis. I explained that this diary and my very positive approach to my recovery, produced a lot of interest from the medical team and as a result, I was asked several months later to come and present to them. In the course of preparing these notes, I discovered  there were 7 distinct steps to my recovery, one of these key steps was  ” collaborating with the medical team”.

I then chartered my patient journey from the Accident and Emergency department and the various healthcare professional interactions which I had during my stay. I highlighted specific individuals who came from right across the healthcare professional spectrum; what they had said or done which had helped me so much in my recovery. In the main, the examples I cited,  had the following factors in common:

  1. Their focus was totally on me as a patient. At some level they set an intent to align their world totally with mine.
  2. Even if they did not speak to me initially, the way they carried themselves into my room gave me confidence. This would often be reinforced with a smile and expression which reflected that they understood my world and how I could possibly be feeling.
  3. Their use of language structures and voice tone was very skillful and gave me further confidence and reassurance.
  4. When I was anxious or agitated, they would use language structures which would reinforce my belief that I would get better. Furthermore they were very skillful at painting pictures of possible time frames of recovery. This was so helpful in giving me a perspective of time and how long individual processes and the overall recovery could take.
  5. I would also observe them with other patients and how skilful they were in navigating their body language with particularly sick patients to build the best possible rapport.
  6. This wonderful approach encouraged me to drive my recovery and support all the recovery processes they offered me. Moreover I was able to draw upon my training and coaching expertise in order to do this. In fact at The London Deanery Coaching and Mentoring Conference where I was a guest workshop Speaker, the Chair opened the conference by saying I was a great example of someone who had “coached themselves to wellness”

As part of the Q&A and in my conclusion, I made reference to a quote that had been taken earlier from Harper Lee’s book: “To really know a man from his point of view you must get into his skin”. I emphasised that all these health professionals had a natural intuition to do just that. I went on further to say that a great training and coaching programme, would be to shadow these great exemplars and really understand what their strategies were. What beliefs and behaviours operated for them to be able to get these consistently great outcomes. Once these were understood, they could be used to build a programme to train and coach those who really struggled with whole area of building empathy with patients. Or the programme could be used for an induction programme for new staff.

Two other great points made in the Q&A were:

Empathy and Compassion in Healthcare: Nurture or Nature?

Dr. Hero Tanaka -Clinical Director of Orthopaedics – Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board , asked about whether I thought these skills, such as empathy and compassion, were natural skills that health care professionals either had or whether they could be taught? I said that despite the great examples I had highlighted, I  thought these skills could be taught. Moreover earlier in my talk I had emphasised that it was not only about giving them new skills but also getting them into the habit of using them. In fact earlier,  Dr Tanaka had actually demonstrated very powerfully and gracefully with the help of his colleague,  Vicki Williams -Ward Manager, that with small steps, you could enhance the use of empathy and make a huge difference to the patient experience.

Mandy Wearne from Inspiration North West related how she had used my seven steps of recovery in a facilitation session with a group of hospital governors, illustrating how versatile as well as powerful they were. She believed that they could be used for many different types of setback including bereavement. I reinforced her point by saying that in a lot of my NHS sessions, people had said how relevant my recovery model was to other forms of severe health setback.


Bring David to Your Organization

Would you like David to speak for your Organisation and help your teams? David is not only a Professional Speaker but a Coach at Warwick Business School, so could provide Coaching and Training in additional to a Keynote. Please call him on +44 (0)1923 663275 or email him at david@strokerecovery to discuss this further.