Cardiff and Vale’s Audiology team win a national award for reforming the care pathway

The Audiology team at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has won the prestigious National Welsh Government Planned Care Sustainability Award for reforming the way care is delivered for patients with hearing problems.

During a special event in Cardiff last week, the service was recognised for transforming the audiology pathway from a consultant-led service to a self-managed pathway using Patients Know Best (PKB) – a multi-award winning tool to help patients better manage their care.

The team is using PKB to encourage self-efficacy by distributing information such as questionnaires to patients prior to their appointment. Firstly, this is helping to measure initial handicap to inform treatment plans, and secondly, it measures residual handicap prior to a final review. The team have found the latter often completely negates the need for a final review before patients are discharged to the open access clinics.

These changes improve the quality of information provided by the patient as they are completed at home in a relaxed atmosphere with support from family members or carers where required. Subsequently, this means there is more time during the appointments,  enabling a more comprehensive assessment and rapport to be established. In some cases, final appointments can also be avoided altogether, releasing valuable clinical time.

In addition, PKB’s communication platform is enabling patients to easily contact their clinician without the need to visit the site in person, or to spend numerous amounts of time waiting on busy telephone lines. Patients can also self-manage their care more effectively using a range of information and learning tools such as videos with instructions on the care and use of their hearing device, information on assistive listening devices and links to other available support services offered by the voluntary sector in the area.  

The team hope to roll out the use of PKB to many other areas in Audiology including Transition Services, Cochlear Implants, Bone Anchored Hearing Aids, Tinnitus and Vestibular Services, to further streamline the care pathway and avoid the need for unnecessary appointments. The team is thrilled with the outcomes they have seen and said: “In Audiology, we believe Patients really do Know Best!”

During the event, Dr Andrew Goodall, NHS Wales Director General of Health and Social Services and Chief Executive, added: “The Planned Care Sustainability Award is a great way to celebrate best practice in improving patient care across Wales. It’s also a great opportunity to learn from each other and I hope it will stimulate some lively debate and fresh ideas that you will take back to your organisations.”

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