I’m was not an easy, (or cheap!) inpatient and my deep appreciation for the kindness and skill with which I was treated led to me setting up Star Wards. One small, low-key experience illustrates for me how staff don’t simply ‘enable’ treatment and recovery, they are the main treatment! During an admission, I got a lot of support from one HCA, who was wonderfully responsive, kind, bright – and very, very patient. After a fraught day, she told me she’d come and say goodbye before the end of her shift but I realised that with everything going on this might end up not happening. At 9PM she hadn’t come into my room, but at 9.10 there she was, apologising for being a bit late and checking on how I was feeling. It was a big deal for me as I’m really reliant on a trusting relationship with staff in order to stabilise, stop the self-destructive stuff – and get back home to Buddy.
This mini-example does illustrate some of the many characteristics of HCAs which are so appreciated by patients – reliability, empathy, stability, flexibility and going the extra mile. These hugely important qualities can be hard for managers, regulators and others to ‘measure’ and acknowledge, compared to clinical skills. We hope that Ward Stars will help HCAs and colleagues to identify the vast range of personal qualities and clinical expertise that HCAs use continuously, and that this contributes to you feeling proud of and applauded for the caring, skilled, enormously demanding work you do. Thank you! You truly are the heart of inpatient care.