Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


Patient Bedside Communication Boards

3 October 2023

A new bedside communication tool for patients and their clinical teams has begun rolling out across Austin Health.

The Patient Bedside Communication Board is an important tool to enhance our patients' overall experience in hospital by supporting their communication needs. It demonstrates that we involve our patients in shared decision making and care planning, and ensure we provide information in a way that the patient can understand.

These boards are a shared responsibility across all staff involved in the patient’s care and are designed to:

  • provide a mechanism for two-way communication between patients and staff to improve the overall communication experience ​
  • enable patients and family/carers to leave messages or questions for the team​
  • provide information about the Patient & Carer Escalation (PACE) Process

Julia Todd, Standard 6 Clinical Excellence Lead, states “the new patient communication boards will help to ensure our patients have an additional opportunity to engage with their treating team. They also provide the patient with key information, such as their planned discharge date, to help them feel better informed about what to expect during their hospital admission.”

Phase one will be rolled out to four inpatient wards at Austin Hospital, totalling more than 100 beds, including Ward 7N who participated in an initial pilot of the boards in 2021.

“The communication boards are a great initiative. It enables our patients & their families the opportunity to communicate their needs to the treating team, & that collaboration can only enhance a positive & safe patient experience,” says Suzanne Johnson, Nurse Unit Manager of Ward 7 North.

The pilot project involved extensive consultation with clinical areas and showed that when the boards were regularly updated, 80 per cent of patients thought their board was helpful for communication.

It’s planned that by mid next year, all inpatient beds across our sites will have a Patient Communication Board installed and accessible to our community.

This project demonstrates Austin Health’s ongoing commitment to improving the communication experience for our patients. It is also an example of a collaborative approach to abiding by our National Standards, including Standard 2 Partnering with Consumers, Standard 5 Comprehensive Care and Standard 6 Communicating for Safety.