Friendly Faces make communication easier for staff wearing PPE

The ‘Blue Peter’ skills of a NHS Forth Valley Children’s Occupational Therapist has made life ‘smiles better’ for patients at the Bellfield Centre, part of the new Stirling Health and Care Village.

Sarah Dove, who has been redeployed there to help assess rehabilitation support after people have been discharged, came up with the idea to create laminated badges which can be pinned onto Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to make communication with patients easier and staff appear less scary.

Sarah and the Bellfield Centre Staff

Staff at the Bellfield Centre with laminated badges pinned onto Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to make communication with patients easier.

Sarah explained: “Communication whilst wearing PPE is challenging for both staff and patients. I realised quickly that it could be distressing and confusing for the patients not being able to see our faces whilst communicating and also never seeing a smile, especially during this time when they are unable to have visitors.”

“I wrote a list of what we would need to produce the photo badges which included an instamatic camera, laminator, pouches, paper and lanyards. I then contacted the Co-operative Bank, who I bank with, to enquire if they may be able to assist with purchasing these items. To my surprise all these items, including a box of goodies, arrived at The Bellfield centre within a few days and I’ve been making up pictures for AHP staff, nurses, assistants, GPs and social workers.”

Sarah Dove, Children’s Occupational Therapist

Sarah’s laminated badge.

Sarah has been using a template from the popular ‘#hello my name is’ initiative together with a picture of a smiling member of staff. The badge is laminated so it can be wiped down and conforms to infection control guidance. She said: “The new photo badges have been a great success and there has been very positive feedback from patients, maybe making their time in hospital just a little bit easier to tolerate.”

The Co-operative Bank were delighted to receive Sarah’s request as Maria Cearns, Managing Director of Retail Banking at the Co-operative Bank, explained: “We loved the idea of helping people see the friendly faces of their nurses and carers while wearing PPE and we were delighted to provide the team with what they needed to put their idea into action. We are pleased to be able to support the team and their vital work at this critical time.”

Sarah, who is working with people who are recovering from a wide range of physical and mental health issues, including some affected by Covid-19, has already used up 100 pictures and is now exploring other avenues to try to secure funding for more film cartridges so she can continue the project.