Title of ArticleA stroke staff training programme involving expert patients: a case study of its impact on staff and service development
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sJennifer Read and Rebecca Palmer
ReferenceVolume 3, Issue 2, Article 3
Date of PublicationNovember 2013
Keywordsbarriers to change, expert patients, patient public involvement, service evaluation, staff development, staff training

Aim: To explore the long term impact of an interprofessional staff training course involving expert patients addressing the psychological, communication and cognitive needs of stroke patients.

Methods: Thematic framework analysis of focus group and interview transcripts from a convenience sample of course participants, which identified key overarching analytical themes.

Findings: Participants discussed the impact of the course on their understanding and awareness of, and empathy with, patients and their needs, up to six years after course attendance. Involvement of expert patients was key to this. However, despite their perceived development of awareness and skills, participants felt team and systemic barriers obstructed practice change.

Conclusions: A long term qualitative service evaluation of a staff training course involving expert patients helped staff to develop a holistic outlook, improving their understanding of patients with psychological, communication and cognitive problems, and awareness of their needs. However, training alone was perceived to be insufficient to achieve the practice change required to improve patient care.

Implications for practice:

  • Involving expert patients in staff training could improve staff’s awareness and understanding of patients and their needs
  • Actively involving expert patients in staff training could bring positive changes to workplace culture and person-centred practice
  • Multidisciplinary, practical, workbased, reflective courses with quality manuals and workbooks are valued by staff
  • Training alone is not sufficient to ensure practice change or implementation of newly acquired skills, even if staff are highly motivated. Systemic and team barriers need to be addressed
  • Long term qualitative and quantitative evaluation of staff training courses involving expert patients should be undertaken to provide in depth and measurable outcomes of training

This article by Jennifer Read and Rebecca Palmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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