Building a Better Health Service

Your Health

Letterkenny University Hospital launch ‘John’s Campaign’

 Four women standing next to a pull-up poster showing Letterkenny University Hospital's visiting hours.

Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) has become the first hospital in the country to implement a new visiting policy for patients and their carers, based on ‘John’s Campaign’ that originated in the NHS and is designed to extend visiting rights for carers of patients in hospitals.

The development gives carers access to their loved ones outside of general visiting times and recognises the role of the carer in the planning of patient care.

In implementing the carer’s passport, LUH are acknowledging that some patients have complex needs that require intensive support. People often rely on a family member or friend for this support, and that support should be able to continue within a hospital setting. Carers are uniquely placed to advise on a loved one’s medical history and have the potential to assist with medical decision-making and discharge planning.

Martina Porter, Quality and Patient Safety Manager, LUH, explained that they are “continually striving to enhance patient-centred care here in Letterkenny University Hospital."

"This initiative is an excellent example of empowering patients, their families and the wider healthcare team to create a care environment where a patient’s individual needs are met. This partnership has the potential to reduce the common causes of harm, lead to better communication and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes.”

A family member or friend of a patient can apply for a carer’s passport from any member of staff. Once they have completed a short form and are registered, they will have access to the person they care for at any time, day or night, outside of conventional hospital visiting hours, whenever they feel it is needed.

Anne Drake, Director of Nursing at LUH added that they know that “some patients really struggle with the change in environment when they are admitted to hospital. Patients can also be challenged by changes in their care provider. In order to achieve the best person-centred care for this patient group, we need to work with their loved ones to ensure that the patient has a consistent experience of care."

“As a healthcare team we need to be flexible and responsive; tailoring our approach to fit the needs of the person in hospital and the carer. The carer’s passport helps us to achieve this by offering access to carers whenever they feel it necessary to be with the patient.”

Nikki Gerard, who founded ‘John’s Campaign’ in the NHS, named after her late father Dr John Gerrard, attended the launch on a virtual basis. Addressing the gathering she said they were “delighted that Letterkenny University Hospital is going to implement ‘John’s Campaign’ - the first hospital in the Republic of Ireland to do so."

“John’s Campaign is about compassion, about patient-centred care, about keeping people connected to those they love the most at the time they need them most. We will always be grateful to the staff of the hospital for being pioneers and taking this important step and we look forward to working with you all over the years.”