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When it comes to our health, it is often easy to forget how much matters of the heart are connected. When we look at the rooms of people waiting for their loved ones, or the bedsides filled with cards and flowers, it is understand that really, the NHS delivers a service to many more than the individuals they treat on a daily basis.

If, like Elephant you are playing a part in the delivery of health, it’s important, we believe, to consider the ways in which you deliver a family service.

Impact – Each independent aspects of care hour health service delivers is based on a condition of health and we think that it is important to understand the impact that health condition has on a patient’s family unit.  For example, it is important to understand not only the differences in treatment, facilities and costs when it comes to treating a cold vs cancer but also it is important, as a healthcare provider, to truly understand the impact these conditions have on those that are loved by patients.

Access – When considering treatment and care of patients, it is important to understand when and how their loved ones will be given access to information relating to their condition, when they will be able to gain reassurance and when they will be able to spend time with service providers and the patient themselves. In planning patient care, it is important to ensure both patients and their loved ones understand when access is available and how it can be achieved.

Understanding – It is important for the loved ones of patients to understand the diagnosis they have received, the treatment plan that has been proposed and the implications of their health problem, however simple or complex it may be. Of course, you may not be able to provide this service on a one to one basis so it’s important that you understand how carers and loved ones can gain this understanding without putting a huge strain on resources.

Opportunity – Patients will have individuals around them who want to help and it is important that, as a service provider you help patients understand when they will have the opportunity to provide care and assistance. Defining and sharing these opportunities in the first instance can help reduce anxiety amongst patients loved ones and remove some pressure from yourself as a service provider.

At Elephant, we realise that very few aspects of our health service are independent and just like a family, we do our best to work together and collaborate with others wherever and whenever possible.