Patient Involvement 2015 - Linda Birkitt

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Linda Birkitt, Leeds NHS, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust was winner of the Patient Involvement category in the 2015 Healthcare Science Awards.

Patient Involvement 2015 - Linda Birkitt

The citation for Linda Birkitt read:

 

Linda is a Highly Specialist Cardiac Physiologist lead for the paediatric pacing service. This service has over 400 paediatric patients with an implantable cardiac pacemaker, from birth upwards and many with special needs. Once a pacemaker is implanted patients have to have their pacemaker checked 2 or 3 times per year and generally have the device in for life. Linda recognised that all paediatric pacemaker information provided was directed at carers/parents rather than at the child themselves. Often children were anxious and upset when coming to hospital for their pacemaker checks.  As a result Linda has developed a range of information booklets designed for the child with regards what a pacemaker is, how they can still live a healthy lifestyle and what to expect when they have their pacemaker checked. The booklets are designed for 3 stages with pictures and text relevant to age to meet the needs from pre-school up to teenagers and beyond for those with learning difficulties. Linda worked directly with patients, taking the needs and feedback from children, carers/parents and teachers as well as staff into account when designing these. All children are now given these booklets to take home and keep. Feedback from parents and teachers is extremely positive and include reduced anxiety regarding the hospital visits / pacemaker checks, interest in their heart and information for fellow schoolchildren, friends and relatives. I am therefore nominating Linda as a champion for healthcare science and patient involvement.