23 July marks international #hellomynameis day, the campaign which spreads the message on something that is sadly lacking in some healthcare quarters: simple and human communication between staff and patients. HealthManagement.org caught up with campaign co-founder, Chris Pointon, to find out about the wildfire changes the campaign is making in healthcare and how you can help.
Each year - 23 July will be recognised as International #hellomynameis Day. This is to firstly remember my amazingly beautiful and inspiring wife, Dr Kate Granger MBE, who died aged 34 in 2016 on 23 July – a date which was also our 11th wedding anniversary. Secondly, the day is to launch and re-launch the #hellomynameis campaign so as it continues to make a difference and spread to more countries across the world.
The campaign encourages healthcare staff to make a pledge to introduce themselves to patients and has been a huge success with hundreds of thousands of staff backing it since I and Kate founded it in 2013. The campaign also reminds people about the importance of good communication and how small, simple acts can improve the lives of patients. Kate saw a deep need for these changes while she was a patient.
There will also be a minute of silence on 23rd July around 3.20pm (GMT) which is the time Kate died.
Why do you think the #hellomynameis campaign has grown so quickly and widely?
It takes very little time to do, costs little money, helps build trust and is the start of a therapeutic relationship between two people. The amount of uptake from the very start, within UK healthcare first and foremost, then across the world has been unbelievable. My ambition now is to keep spreading the message across as many healthcare and other establishments as I can, making sure that organisations embed the change into their culture.
Was it when Kate became a patient herself that she became more sensitive to the values of the later #hellomynameis campaign or was she already aware of this lack in healthcare?
I imagine her position as a doctor and patient gave a unique insight. Kate was always an uber-compassionate person in both work and outside of work. From a very young age she regularly helped looking after older people at the local day centre and was an outstanding individual in everything she did. In her early days as a patient she wrote a book all about seeing it through the eyes of a doctor as a patient (called 'the other side') which is still available to buy today from our websit
e with all profits going to charity.
What are some of the most powerful ideas you have seen in your work on #hellomynameis and in the Kate Granger Awards for Compassionate Care?
The ideas that people across the world come up with are amazing. These range from telephone stickers with the logo on (as a reminder when answering phones) to nurses being named Kate Granger Nurses who exemplify the values we stand for. There are staff awards in many trusts across the NHS and we also have global Kate Granger Awards that are set up to recognise individuals and teams that go above and beyond in compassionate care.
Many trusts now have #hellomynameis champions and ambassadors who actively promote the campaign and get involved with fundraising and ideas of where this can continue to spread. We now have a full range of merchandise available through the website
which is another way of helping spread the message and anything listed on the website has to donate to the charities we support.
What blocks in healthcare have you seen in your and Kate’s work to the values of the #hellomynameis campaign and, importantly, how can they be overcome?
For me, the big blockers that we come up against in healthcare are time, money and staffing. In terms of time, the campaign takes very little and improves communication which, in turn, may actually save time in the long run. The campaign costs very little money to implement as we all have to wear some form of identification at work so when ID is refreshed, it’s easy to have the logo as part of this. This is more about the human touch than badges and lanyards; this is about the act of a simple introduction that is the start of a therapeutic relationship. Finally staffing: across healthcare we have so many amazing staff members with valuable experience. However, we need to ensure that we are continuing to recruit and educate with the inter-personal values of the #hellomynameis campaign forming part of inductions and training courses.
How can people help the #hellomynameis campaign?
It can take several months, if not years, to embed change into an organisation, but such a simple change with such a simple message can have a huge impact. I think that’s why so many organisations have chosen to make this part of their culture, to add it to their office signature, or make it part of their name badges. The campaign is about people who are willing and wanting to connect with patients in a meaningful way.
People can help by continuing to promote the campaign, by using it, by sharing it and by being champions of communication across the organisation they work in.
I want my legacy to be that the #hellomynameis campaign is recognised in every country in the world - we are now in over 20 countries so any help with the spreading the word is appreciated. All ideas are welcome and anyone who has inspiration can contact me via the website hellomynameis.org.uk