Making the FFT both relevant and practical for their service users was at the heart of a pioneering project by Calderstones Partnership Foundation Trust. The NHS England funded project aimed to break down the barriers of accessing opinions of their service users, who found the traditional FFT difficult due to their individual needs.
The FFT enables people who use NHS services to feed in to the process of improvement by having the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience.
What happens when users do not read the questions in the way they are intended?
Whilst the FFT is open to everyone who uses the NHS, it was recognised by the Calderstones team that their service users were not responding to the questions in the expected manner. The Trust serves adult men and women who have a learning disability or other developmental disorder with significant and complex needs. These service users did not interpret the standard questions in the way they were intended. Rather than accept this and continue with what was little more than a tick box exercise, Calderstones engaged ViewPoint to embark on an NHS England funded research project to find out how they could make the survey matter
Focus on understanding
We worked with the service users and staff at Calderstones to understand the issues and determine how to resolve them. The project stripped back the format of the FFT looking at the words used and how they might be understood. The key was to understand the implied messages around the choice of words and how they could be interpreted differently by some. A working group of service users was established to review how the questions made them feel and to propose alternate wording.
- Video and audio narration were used to introduce and explain what to expect from the survey, why they were being asked the questions and how to answer.
- The instruction also included guidance on how to use the free text area so that they can give their own relevant views.
- A voiceover was included to guide the service user through the survey.
Feeding back on feedback
It was agreed that the feedback was best presented visually as this most readily understood by service users. It was also agreed that we would use video clips to clearly explain how their feedback would count, providing the link between their opinions and service improvements.
Collaborating for success
The success of this project was largely attributable to the high level of collaboration. Focus groups and working groups of service users and members of the multi-disciplinary team were formed with a focus on making opinions heard.