Introduction Effective communication with parents/patients is essential according to Domain 3 of the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Guide for Good Medical Practice. Documentation of communication is crucial for clinical and medicolegal aspects. A local survey in our unit revealed a room for development, when 35.3% only of communication with parents was documented.
Aim To improve documentation of communication with parents in the neonatal unit, in line with GMC Good Medical Practice Guide, aiming at 100% documentation of communications with parents.
Method A development team was assigned with clear responsibilities and leadership. As part of PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) cycle for improvement, tools were developed as an Act to improve documentation of communication with parents. The developed tools were; making documentation of communication with parents a handover component, making the documentation in the notes a personal responsibility of the doctor who spoke to parents and recording that, creating posters about documenting communication with parents and distributing them in different areas of the department as reminders and having a weekly updated Statistical Process Control chart (SPC chart) clearly visible in the unit.
Results A Test of the Change was carried out after 2 months by a review of the last 6 weeks of the SPC Chart. The overall percentage of documented communication with parents was 72.85% (51/70) over 6 weeks period. The first week did not show significant change when 36% (4/11) of communications were documented. However, there was a steady improvement between the second and the fifth weeks, ranging from 71% to 80%, before reaching 92% in the sixth week. That was a positive test of change which was highlighted and implementation of these tools was agreed. High quality documented communications were selected and presented to trainees for learning benefits.
Conclusion Having accurate medical records is medicolegally essential. Developing local tools to improve documentation of communication with parents is important when that documentation is sub-optimal. The SPC chart, posters, and communication documentation handing over are effective tools. However, other tools might be effective depending on each unit’s needs.
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