Following a tender process, Mackman Research were commissioned by Ronald McDonald House Charities UK to conduct a Service User Survey on its behalf.
The Charity wanted to understand the needs, expectations and experiences of those using the Houses (i.e. service users). The research objectives specifically were:
Together with the Charity, Mackman Research identified key service areas requiring investigation: general use of the Ronald McDonald House, working at the House, catering, amenities and activities, wellbeing, staff, follow-up support and overall experience. A semi-structured “conversational” telephone interview was designed with a combination of open (explorative) questions and some closed (rating/ranking) questions. A fully structured online self-completion survey was also designed, which was distributed and managed by Mackman Research.
Mackman Research planned to conduct 130 telephone interviews, where participants would be a cross-section of service-users from a portfolio of 12 Ronald McDonald Houses. For the online survey, we anticipated a self-selecting sample in profile and number (i.e. a “natural fall-out”), which would be determined by the profile/number of outbound invitations and the degree of interest/motivation of recipients to complete the survey.
Contacting service users to participate in our research (by phone and email) always held the risk of upsetting potential participants, as it would ask them to recall a distressing time in their lives where their child or loved one was hospitalised. Ronald McDonald House Charities UK was reassured by the processes Mackman Research have in place to mitigate this risk, and the experience that our in-house telephone researchers have in asking difficult questions using a compassionate approach. Consequently, we overachieved our telephone interview target and received over 400 self-completed surveys online.
Rigorous analysis was conducted to understand both qualitative and quantitative trends within the dataset, resulting in a detailed report consisting of key findings, executive summary, themes of note and verbatim responses. Interestingly, findings from our research on the use of foodbanks by service users were in line with national statistics, both in terms of frequency of use and regions most affected in the UK. This revealed a real-time outcome for which urgent measures could be put in place by the Charity immediately following our research. Further pain points were also identified through the exploration of additional support required by service users. This allowed us to create bespoke recommendations for each service area, to help Ronald McDonald House Charities UK make well-informed, strategic decisions and improve their service offering.
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