Grampians BreastScreen volunteer Heather Murray regularly dedicates her time to supporting clients at assessment clinics. At one clinic, Heather noticed a client looking uncomfortable in the gown that she was given.
"The gown wasn't covering our client in a decent way; it didn't look secure or comfortable," Heather said. "It wasn't providing enough coverage, which would particularly impact clients with larger body shapes. I know clients are already feeling stressed and worried when they come to the clinic, so I thought it would help if they could feel more comfortable in their gowns."
Heather raised her concern with our staff at Grampians, and together they decided to make a change.
Heather, along with fellow volunteer Ann Campbell and the team at Grampians, found two issues. First, the gowns fit poorly and had confusing ties that left some clients feeling exposed. Second, a client might receive a disposable or reusable gown. This inconsistency left some feeling singled out.
"We started looking for something everyone could wear and for it to be comfortable with good coverage," said Grampians Program Manager Di Sartori.
After exploring some options, Grampian BreastScreen staff ordered fabric robes to fit all body shapes and sizes. The back of the robe is embroidered with 'Grampians BreastScreen' so they don't get lost in the laundry service.
Feedback supporting service improvements
"I don't think we are unique in using robes, but we're really pleased the suggestion came from our volunteer, and we were able to make a meaningful difference," Di said.
Heather was pleased with the positive outcome and credited the open way her feedback was heard and actioned.
"Di and the team were very supportive and willing to listen," Heather said. "They were only too happy to try and improve the situation."
Volunteers are part of the One BreastScreen Team
Heather and Ann, Grampians BreastScreen's two wonderful volunteers, alternate every Wednesday morning to assist and support clients in the assessment clinic waiting room by lending an ear, answering any questions and providing comfort if needed. Ann has been working with the BreastScreen team for more than nine years following retirement, having first joined as a consumer representative following her breast cancer experience. Similarly, Heather started volunteering when she retired three years ago.
"Our volunteers are part of our team," Di said. "They participate in meetings, are part of our Service Quality Committee, and are also involved as Consumer Representatives for BreastScreen as a whole. Having consumers engaged in service design and improvement helps us put clients first."