The CARES effect

The CARES effect – small actions make a big difference

Published on : 6/9/19
  • When you work in a hospital every day it’s easy to forget how daunting it can be for patients and visitors. Spending nights away from home in a strange environment, it’s natural to feel nervous, lonely or anxious. Some patients report they feel like a ‘number’ or an ‘illness’ in a big system – especially when they are asked to follow procedures they know little about.

    Small caring actions can help put patients at ease and help speed up their recovery.

    Our training programme, CARES, has been designed to bridge the gap between clinical interaction and non-clinical engagement. As non-clinical team members, Sodexo staff can have as much, if not more, patient contact than clinical teams. They are often the first person a patient will meet. They can create valuable impressions that enhance the patient experience.

    Whether domestics, security guards, tech services, catering or hospitality assistants, every member of our team aims to put people at ease when they are in hospital from the moment they come through the door. In this way, we improve the quality of the hospital experience and contribute to the delivery of better care. It ensures our team has a more empathetic and deeper understanding of the patient’s experience and equips them with the skills to identify and respond to a patient’s emotional needs.

    An everyday commitment, our CARES behaviours (Compassion, Accountability, Respect, Enthusiasm and Service) recognise each interaction we have – no matter how big or how small – is important. Developed globally, the CARES programme has recently been updated. Designed using real-life scenarios and the programme covers topics as diverse as dementia awareness, respect and dignity, diversity and inclusion, patient choice and teamwork. It encourages team members to have discussions about the impact of their work on others.

    We recognise that improving the patient experience is an ongoing process. That’s why, each member of our team participates in regular, bite-size and action-orientated CARES training. They are encouraged to listen, look, acknowledge and respond to patient needs – engaging with patients, clinical teams and colleagues throughout the process. The programme is key to Sodexo’s approach to creating a holistic culture of care that promotes collaboration and is grounded in quality, safety & service. Ultimately, improving quality of life for patients, their visitors, our clients and our colleagues.

    Contact Donna Hawkhead ( to find out more about the CARES programme and how we are working to improve the patient experience.

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